One of the cool things about this writer/farmer/photographer life is that — aside from raising pigs and producing food for Michigan families, which is something I love and am passionate about in and of itself — I also get to use my talents for issues and causes that matter to me outside of my neck of the woods. I talk about extreme poverty, hunger, immigration, foreign policy, economics, communications, even religion… and for the most part you all humor me and even pitch in to help me make a difference when I ask for you to lend your voice.
On the other hand, one of the frustrating things about all of this is that sometimes it can take a really long time to get results. By the time they do come they feel that much sweeter for the wait, but often it also means I don’t have a great excuse to bring any given topic up again. I appreciate the space you give me to talk about my passions off-the-farm as much as I talk about my life on it so I don’t want to sound like a broken record.
In so many cases it seems like our collective consciousness has moved on from whatever it was so more often than not I celebrate quietly and keep on moving along. I didn’t want to skip over this update though because it’s a big one:
If you’ve been reading here for long you may remember the post I put up last summer asking for your help urging our men and women in congress to pass a measure known as the Electrify Africa Act. It was one of those rare, non-partisan, no-cost-to-the-taxpayer type bills that rarely make news and it was up for votes for the second time. It was aimed at spurring private investment in the energy grid in Africa which has tremendous power to improve health, education and economic opportunity in some of the world’s most under developed nations, and on Monday, February 8, 2016, thanks to your signatures, shares and calls to your representatives Electrify Africa was signed into law by President Obama.
360,000 people signed the petition we helped ONE circulate last year. Between calls, letters and tweets to congressmen and women we spurred 198,551 contacts with congressional offices around the country. 24,000 people signed on as new ONE members. And now, as a result of all that, private investment in infrastructure will help an estimated 50 million people access electricity for the first time.
From hospitals and rural health clinics, to farms and factories, to schools and homes and small businesses, this one simple bill is going to have tremendous impact. Students will be able to study, doctors and midwives will be able to save more lives, vaccinations will be able to be refrigerated properly, farmers will be able to charge phones and radios so they can tune into regional weather and education programs to improve their practices. And it’s all thanks to people like you; people who read simple blog posts and social media statuses and said, “Sure. I can sign that petition.”
So, for that, I just wanted to say: Thank you!