Keep your eyes on what Trump does with this historic, bipartisan food-security law.
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Gates Foundation: The Story of Food

Last July, Republicans and Democrats in Congress took a historical step toward ending global hunger — together.

Dust off your party horn. Congress actually agreed on something!

In a year not known for words like "bipartisan" and "support" sitting together in the same sentence, the two parties joined forces in passing the Global Food Security Act. You bet President Barack Obama signed it into law as soon as he could.


It was a hopeful political moment that went largely unnoticed, with the 2016 election race sucking up everyone's energy. (And, let's be real, whatever brain power we had left went to binge-watching Netflix's "Stranger Things.")

But now the real work begins.

It's up to President Donald Trump to actually see the Global Food Security Act through.

Image via Win McNamee/Getty Images.

This law, if fully implemented, will reduce hunger, malnutrition, and poverty around the world, saving countless lives and saving us money by increasing global productivity.

It will add crucial oversight to existing U.S. spending, ensuring the most effective use of our taxpayer dollars. It will improve upon the programs we already have in place, like Obama's Feed the Future initiative. It will also help communities be more resilient when facing droughts and floods caused by climate change. And female and smallholder farmers really stand to benefit — a group responsible for producing up to 80% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. With investments in their resources and growth, they will be able to boost their incomes, productivity, and, ultimately, their livelihoods.

This is the first time in our history that the U.S. government — the largest provider of international aid — has actually passed a comprehensive strategy like this. It's big!

Image via iStock.

It took nearly a decade to get to where we are, thanks to numerous nonprofit groups, politicians, private-sector partners, researchers, universities, and farmers all working together. It'd be more than a shame to see it fall through; it'd be morally irresponsible and even a security threat.  

With all his talk on national and global security, Trump would be wise to show support for the Global Food Security Act.  

Conflict is a leading cause of hunger, and hunger contributes to violence. It's a vicious cycle, with global conflicts now pushing over 56 million people into either "crisis" or "emergency" levels of food insecurity around the world, according to a joint report from the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme.  

"Addressing hunger can be a meaningful contribution to peacebuilding," the report emphasized.  

Image via iStock.

Bottom line: The world sees more peace and security when fewer people go to bed hungry at night. And peace and security are the foundation for any developing country's ability to progress.

The Global Food Security Act shows the United States' commitment to ensuring farmers and families can break away from hunger for good.

Let's make sure President Trump makes the Global Food Security Act a priority, moving both our country and the world forward. Sign the petition here.

Maybe it's because I'm a writer, but I'm a bit of a pen snob. Even if I'm just making a list, I look for a pen that grips well, flows well, doesn't put too much or too little ink into the paper, is responsive-but-not-too-responsive to pressure, and doesn't suddenly stop working mid-stroke.

In other words, the average cheap ballpoint pen is out. (See? Snob.)

However, Oscar Ukono is making me reevaluate my pen snobbery. Because while I'm over here turning up my nose at the basic Bic, he's using them to create things like this:

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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