Jimmy Carter Powers Half of His Hometown With Solar
By Joe McCarthy
Jimmy Carter was the first president to put solar panels on the White House in 1979.
Back then, it was a symbolic gesture, a hope that this strange alternative energy would one day pan out.
"It can be just a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people," he said at the time.
Nearly four decades later, the promise of solar energy has arrived and Carter is taking full advantage of its potential.
Earlier this year, he commissioned SolAmerica to create a solar farm on 10 acres of his land in his hometown of Plains, Georgia. Today, that farm is supplying half of his town's electricity needs. It's expected to supply 1.3 megawatts of electricity annually, the equivalent of burning 3,600 tons of coal.
Jimmy Carter Continues His Green Energy Legacy With 10-Acre Solar Farm https://t.co/kyZ8vaWqSl @votesolar @SolarEnergyNet— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1486775704.0
And that's not all.
Carter went ahead and had 324 solar panels installed on the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, which will provide about seven percent of the library's energy.
"Distributed, clean energy generation is critical to meeting growing energy needs around the world while fighting the effects of climate change," Carter said in a press release. "I am encouraged by the tremendous progress that solar and other clean energy solutions have made in recent years and expect those trends to continue."
Carter's projects won't power the world, but they show that individuals can invest in small ways to generate energy. Collectively, these individual projects have the potential to transform energy grids around the world.
The New Yorker recently reported on how decentralized solar grids in Sub-Saharan Africa are bringing electricity to millions of people and allowing the region to "leap-frog" fossil fuels, similar to how developing countries are using mobile phones to "leap-frog" telecommunications infrastructure.
Solar installations throughout the U.S., however, have recently stalled in the face of market saturation, financial difficulties among top distributors, and a powerful lobbying effort by utilities companies determined to slow down the pace of renewable energy because it's less profitable than fossil fuels, according to The New York Times.
Many renewable advocates also worry that subsidies for renewable energy will be phased out, leading to higher prices.
Despite these setbacks, renewable energy remains a significant force in the U.S., employing people 12 times faster than the rest of the economy.
President Carter is known for his dedication to human rights throughout the world. His embrace of solar power is ultimately part of that same commitment.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Global Citizen.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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