Watch the final moments before Scotland's last coal plant shut down.

Hats off to the workers at Longannet power station.

"For the first time in more than a century, no power produced in Scotland will come from burning coal."

That's according to Hugh Finlay, the generation director for energy firm ScottishPower. The company's last coal-burning plant in the country, Longannet power station, closed on March 24, 2016, making Scotland one of the first nations in the world to officially end its reliance on the dirty energy source.


Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images.

“It was uneconomic to continue," a ScottishPower spokesperson told The Guardian, noting increased carbon taxes on the aging facility — once the largest in Europe — made operations increasingly costly.

This is a big deal for Scotland, which has its eyes set on a 100% clean energy future.

Scotland has big green goals, and it's not just talking the talk.

By 2020, Scotland wants all of its electricity demand to come from renewable sources, as CNBC reported. The funny thing is, they just might pull it off.

Europe's largest onshore wind farm (seen above) is located in Eaglesham, Scotland. Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images.

Data released last June showed half of Scotland's energy came from renewables in 2014 — up significantly from 2010, when that figure stood at just about 24%. The upward trend will only continue.

"Renewable energy is a central element of our strategy for a successful Scotland," Fergus Ewing, the country's minister for energy, enterprise, and tourism, wrote in a 2013 report. The country's efforts won't just be better for the planet, he noted — they'll boost job creation and investment opportunities as well.

But for the folks at Longannet power station, the closing was a bittersweet affair.

While prioritizing green energy creates jobs for the future, other roles are lost to a changing economy. And no one knows that better than the workers at Longannet.

“It’s been a great place to work — a great bunch of guys to work with,” one worker said in a video, seen below, that captured the moment the plant shut down. “I’ll miss the vibrancy of Longannet when I leave."

“Longannet has contributed more electricity for the national grid than any other power station in Scotland’s history," Finlay said in a statement. "It is a sad day for everyone at ScottishPower."

More than 230 jobs will be lost due to the closure, and roughly 1,000 indirect jobs outside the plant could be affected, The Guardian reported.

Still, moving away from coal is something to celebrate because it's in all our best interests.

Our addiction to coal is a big contributor to our collective carbon footprint, which is the driving force behind climate change. Luckily, we're curbing our addiction.

Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images.

New data revealed at the UN's climate talks in Paris found 2015 could be the very first year global carbon emissions stalled — or even declined — during a period of economic growth. China — one of the world's biggest coal users — is moving away from its dirty energy habit, which is a big reason behind the benchmark.

"[China is] restructuring its economy," said Professor Corinne Le Quere of the University of East Anglia in the U.K., who led the study. "But there is also a contribution from the very fast growth in renewable energy worldwide."

As the team at Longannet knows well, going green can be tough. But Scotland is showing the world how it's done...

...one coal plant at a time.

Cheers* to a clean energy 2020.

*with Scotch, of course. GIF via "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy."

Heroes

A new Harriet Tubman statue sculpted by Emmy and Academy award-winner Wesley Wofford has been revealed, and its symbolism is moving to say the least.

Harriet Tubman was the best known "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses that helped thousands of enslaved black Americans make their way to freedom in the north in the early-to-mid 1800s. Tubman herself escaped slavery in 1849, then kept returning to the Underground Railroad, risking her life to help lead others to freedom. She worked as a spy for the Union Army during the Civil War, and after the war dedicated her life to helping formerly enslaved people try to escape poverty.

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Heroes

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Kenneth Goldsmith / Twitter

The Hillary Clinton email scandal was a major right-wing talking point during the 2016 election that aimed to create an air of suspicion around the candidate.

The media played right into it turning Clinton — one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for the office — appear just as unworthy of the presidency as Trump, a vulgar, politically-inexperienced pathological liar.

The controversy surrounded Clinton's use of a private email account in which over 30,000 emails were sent during her time as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. An FBI interrogation found there were 110 confidential emails sent from her private account.

Clinton was never criminally charged, however FBI director James Comey said she was "extremely careless."

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Democracy

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
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