The Rundown

This Former President Powers Half of His Hometown With Renewable Energy

Your daily guide to what’s working, what’s not and what you can do about it.

by Impact Staff
Jul 17 2017, 1:30pm

Photos via Wikimedia Commons.

Now, this is presidential: Former president Jimmy Carter has been an advocate for the environment for more than 30 years. Back in 1979, Carter was the first president to install solar panels on the White House, which is pretty revolutionary for that day and age. In February, Carter commissioned SolAmerica to build a 10-acre solar farm on his land in this hometown of Plains, Georgia.

Now that the solar farm has been completed it's projected to create 1.3 megawatts of electricity each year, which equates to over 3,600 tons of coal. In fact, the farm is currently supplying half of the town's electricity.

A win for trans rights: On June 30, 2016, the Pentagon ended the ban on trans people from openly serving in the military, which a huge win for LGBTQ equality. Still, the protections afforded to gender and sexual minorities could easily be snatched back under the anti-trans political climate that the Trump administration has created. GOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler tried to push an amendment to the defense spending bill which would have nixed military funding for trans-related medical services.

The bill is outright transphobic and was shut down with the help of 24 moderate Republicans who voted against party lines. This one piece of legislation will not be the final attack on trans rights, support the National Center for Transgender Equality to continue the fight on behalf of the T members of the LGBTQ community.

Last ditch effort on ACA repeal: The White House is trying its goddamn best to get state governors who are opposed to the GOP Senate health care bill to have a change of heart. The administration launched a drive to sway the minds of four influential Republican governors: Brian Sandoval of Nevada, John Kasich of Ohio, Doug Ducky of Arizona and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas. Whether or not the tactics from the Trump and friends will be able to make a difference still remains to be seen. The ACA repeal effort is up in the air this week so stay tuned to VICE Impact for the latest movements on the bill.

Some bullshit: According to local outlet the Bangor Daily News, a nonprofit in Maine, Skills Inc., has been paying its disabled employees way below minimum wage with a meager salary of $2 to $3 an hour. The actions of the company are effectively a spit in the face since the organization executives have a six-figure income. Unfortunately, what Skills Inc is doing is totally legal. There's a federal law that enables employers to pay disabled workers at a sub-minimum wage.

Watch some more video from VICE Impact:

This abuse of power highlights the disability wage gap, which, according to the American Institutes for Research, disabled employees make 63 cents for every dollar their non-disabled colleagues earn. It's a systemic problem that also causes higher unemployment rates and lack of education. Looking for ways to support disability rights, well here's how you can get started.

Actor activist: James Cromwell stunned in his portrayal of Dr. Arden in American Horror Story: Asylum, but he's in the spotlight for a more controversial than his mad-scientist counterpart. On July 14, Cromwell begins a jail sentence of one week for his part in a nonviolent protest against the construction of a power plant that would promote fracking and worsen climate change. In an interview with Democracy Now, conducted shortly before his sentence, he called "capitalism a cancer."

Cromwell is one of the many celebrities using their platform for social good. If you're against climate change but don't want to go to jail for your beliefs, there's another way to make a difference. Tell your mayor that you're ready for your town or city to transition to 100 percent renewable energy.

Video stream killed the cable star: The future of work is in technology and it's not just jobs in manufacturing either. The entertainment industry has seen a major evolution in how people consume content, now that people would rather stream music or movies instead of buying them. This has given tech studios a leg up in award season. In total, streaming companies Netflix, Amazon and Hulu made up about a third of Emmy noms this year. Also, in February Netflix and Amazon both received an Oscar, which is the first time in history any streaming service had won a golden statue. More awards means more money and a growing field of writers, producers, directors and creators who now have a shot in this tech-spurred media landscape