OK, Midcoasters: let’s roll

By Lily McVetty | Dec 25, 2019

Warmer winters and extended summers? Yes, please! As someone who thrives during Maine’s sunshine months and hibernates in front of the woodstove during its snowy ones, I would selfishly welcome an extended warm season. However, I would not invite increased temperatures at the expense of my friend’s lobstering career, my neighbor’s clamming livelihood, or my coastal community’s industries.

I will not sacrifice our home, our community, our future.

In a recent VillageSoup op-ed titled “Energy conservation and the climate crisis,” Professor Rob Wasserstrom reminds Midcoasters that individual change is not social change. In order to steward and conserve Maine’s natural resources and industries for both current and future generations, institutions must adopt mitigation and adaptation strategies. Wasserstrom calls for a systemic fix. A central question remains. How do individuals and small communities disrupt corporate powers? The answer lies in bottom-up initiatives and localized actions.

On Aug. 12, Rockland City Council passed its own Climate Action Plan. The plan declares by 2045, the entire community of Rockland will be carbon neutral and by 2025, the City of Rockland will obtain 100% of municipal electricity from renewable sources. To achieve these goals, the City will develop renewable power generation, create city policy to decrease greenhouse gasses, reduce energy consumption, increase transportation energy efficiency, and establish community outreach and education programs. Rockland recently hired Davis Saltonstall, co-founder of a startup composting company called ScrapDogs, as the City’s part-time Sustainability Coordinator.

On Dec. 2, Brunswick Town Council passed a resolution declaring a climate emergency. Brunswick joins Portland, South Portland, and Bar Harbor in leading the way to regional changes. Many Maine residents are calling on the Maine State Legislature to do the same. A state climate emergency declaration will propel further policy implementation and financial support.

Watershed School student, Pearl Benjamin, encourages Baby Boomers to listen to younger generations in another recent op-ed titled “Loosen up and listen: the lesson of OK, Boomer.” Millennials and Gen Z activists have valuable skillsets and outside-the-box strategies to combat foreseeable climate-related catastrophes.

Although Rockland’s Climate Action Plan and Climate Emergency Declarations are drops in the global bucket, grassroots initiatives must be the foundation for ongoing and sustainable change. Changes do not have to be grand. You do not have to be Greta Thunberg and sail across the Atlantic Ocean instead of taking an airplane. Rather, you can contribute to and participate in regional initiatives: avoid produce with soil sprayed with pesticides, support local businesses, consider investing in renewable technologies, show up to town hall meetings. Adoption of sustainable practices will require fundamental shifts in the ways in which we do things.

OK, Midcoasters, let’s keep the ball rolling.

Lily McVetty is a student at Bowdoin College, Class of 2021.

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