Even at age 94, Jimmy Carter's still an eco-warrior. Trump should pay attention.

Thanks to President Jimmy Carter, the small, rural town of Plains, Georgia, just reached quite the benchmark: It now gets 50% of its energy from solar power.

Sure, it's a very small town — "We have about 215 households, 700 or so people, in Plains," resident Jill Stuckey told the Associated Press — but it's still an impressive feat.

Photo by Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images.


Carter leased 10 acres of his own land in his hometown to build a solar farm, a project that was completed in February.

"In the solar industry, a lot of the folks that I know think of him as kind of the father of the solar industry," said Stuckey, who is a friend of Carter's. "And to have these panels in Plains today that will create more than half the energy that we utilize here in Plains is just really wonderful for us."

On top of his gift in Plains, last month the Carter family also provided 324 solar panels to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta.

Carter's commitment to clean energy began a long, long time ago.

On June 20, 1979, Carter's administration installed 32 solar panels on the roof of the White House to harvest renewable energy at the president's residence, according to Scientific American.  

It wasn't just a symbolic move, either. As Carter declared in a speech that day:

"A generation from now, this solar heater can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people."

In a message to Congress the same day of his speech, Carter laid out his plans to overhaul America's energy systems. By the year 2020, he envisioned, at least 20% of the energy used in the U.S. would come from renewable sources.

Spoiler alert: We definitely didn't reach that goal. Carter's successor, Ronald Reagan, played a big role in sending us backward on environmental policy throughout the 1980s.

Carter's hopes of a sustainable 21st-century America took another hit in the 2016 election.

President Trump, as you may have noticed, isn't exactly known for hugging trees.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

So far, Trump has handed over the Environmental Protection Agency to Scott Pruitt, who's turned "the EPA into a supine lap dog" for the oil and gas industry, as David Horse eloquently put it in the L.A. Times. Trump, Bloomberg reported on July 13, also wants to invest in coal-fire power plants using money that's currently allocated to the United Nations to help countries hit hardest by climate change.

In June, to the dismay of millions around the world, Trump pledged to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement — a global effort to curb the effects of global warming. Now, America is one of just three countries (the others being Syria and Nicaragua) that aren't signed on to reach target emissions goals.

In terms of energy policy, it seems like Trump is a far better fit to lead in, say ... the early 1970s.

The good news is, America's energy future won't be decided by a single presidency.

One administration can push us forward or set us back in significant ways, to be sure. But it's on us to keep up the fight — regardless of who's in the Oval Office.

After all, you don't need to be a president to make a difference, as Carter would tell you.

Photo by Steve Schaefer/AFP/Getty Images.

"I think symbolically — like those panels on the White House [in 1979] — this little unit in Plains will be very beneficial," Carter told the AP. "It shows what a small town can do, what one farmer can do."

Watch President Carter's interview below:

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.