Maine’s future depends on immediate action on climate change

Maine’s future depends on immediate action on climate change

On Saturday, more than 2,000 Mainers marched to the State House in Augusta to demand action on climate change at both the state and federal levels. They made a compelling case that the future of the state is riding on the actions governments at all levels take right now to address the global threat.

“I have been a lobster fisherman out of Friendship Harbor for over 30 years. During that time I’ve seen firsthand the impacts of climate change to not only the Gulf of Maine, but also to our evolving fisheries, and to the coastal communities that depend upon them,” said Richard Nelson, speaking at the rally. “The Gulf of Maine, long battling ocean warming, now also faces off with climate change’s ugly stepsister: ocean acidification. Acidic waters make it more difficult for shellfish to produce their shells, and makes lobsters more vulnerable to prey and have less energies for reproduction. These changes will affect the oceans and the fishing communities that rely on them.”

The event was one of many People’s Climate Marches held across the country over the weekend in protest of the environmental policies of the Trump administration and to demand action to address carbon pollution and climate change.

“In his first 100 days, President Trump has worked to reverse climate progress, rollback fuel economy standards, and propose deep cuts to the EPA budget,” said Melissa Mann, Advocacy Coordinator for Maine Conservation Alliance. “Climate change threatens Maine’s natural resource based economy, damages our coastal towns with sea-level rise, and increases air pollution and asthma due to polluted winds blowing in from the south and west of our state borders.”

Speakers at the march demanded specific policies to expand renewable energy as part of an effort to support Maine’s economy and way of life and protect the health and happiness of state residents.

“What President Trump doesn’t seem to understand is that addressing climate change through clean energy investments is not only good for our environment, but strengthens our economy and creates good quality jobs,” said Dylan Voorhees, Climate & Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Here in Maine, we are not only marching, we are working hard to make clean energy a reality. That’s why it is so important for the Maine legislature to take action on solar power this session—so that more people, businesses, farms, towns and others can reap the benefits of solar.”

In addition to the broad negative consequences for Maine’s economy and public health, climate change disproportionately impacts minority groups and those with fewer financial resources.

“350 Maine is excited to stand united with organizations and people across Maine, the country, and the world. Today we are sending a powerful message that we are rising up and our strength in numbers grows stronger every day” said Sarah Lachance with 350 Maine. “And, we will not stop until we have created a world that runs on clean, renewable energy where we all benefit from that power and all forms of power equally.”

Photo via Andi Parkinson.

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