Reflections on the "Communities Leading on Climate Conference" & ABCD

Title

Reflections on the "Communities Leading on Climate Conference" & ABCD

Creator

Sarah Kirn, ABCD Team

Date

July 7, 2022

Text

On June 17 the Governor's Office of Policy Innovation and the Future sponsored an in-person conference called Communities Leading on Climate. The organizers just published the materials shared in the conference on their website, https://www.maine.gov/climateplan/conferences/community/materials. Videos of presentations will be added in the coming weeks. Given that anyone can soon access these materials directly, I won't provide a play-by-play, but rather offer three reflections on the day. 

First, it was a moving, welcome opportunity to reconvene for the first time since pre-pandemic with climate leaders from across the state in-person. Energy was high, attendance was robust, and it was motivating to find ourselves in such great company in a state that is taking the climate crisis seriously and making progress.

Second, in these challenging days, I'm more grateful than ever to live in Maine. Here are a few of my new reasons to love my home state: 
  • Maine has the highest per-capita installation rate of heat pumps of any state in the country. 
  • Lots of Maine communities and organizations are working to address issues of equity alongside climate vulnerability, intent on not leaving our most vulnerable and least able neighbors to navigate the challenges on their own. 
  • Mainers are working together to tackle climate change challenges. Towns are working together, regional collaborations are forming (and effective!), organizations are collaborating, state agencies are offering complimentary services, and everyone there was ready, willing, and eager to share anything that might help others. 
Third, there is a whole host of resources for municipalities like Belfast that are ready to write a Climate Action Plan. The City and the Belfast Climate Crisis Committee do not, and likely should not, write this plan alone. 

Fourth, it turns out we're on to something with ABCD! Libraries and librarians have a really important role to play in identifying and sharing the replicable models for responding to climate change. Conversations and questions frequently returned to how to better engage a broader cross section of residents, just as we are trying to do with ABCD. Libraries are a trusted safe space people turn to in order to learn and gather. And as Brenda said to a Free Press reporter, "Collaboration is the antidote to despair.

There's a lot we need to do, a lot left to tackle to make real progress in building resilience and reducing emissions. It was great to see familiar faces not on a screen, and see even more new faces with new ideas and energy. It felt so good to be with a bunch of like-minded people working hard to make progress. 

Oh, and Gina McCarthy, the first White House National Climate Advisor from nearby Massachusetts is hot stuff. When her video is posted, check it out! You'll be entertained and inspired. At least I was!

cheers,
Sarah 

Citation

Sarah Kirn, ABCD Team, “Reflections on the "Communities Leading on Climate Conference" & ABCD,” All of Belfast: Climate Dialogues, accessed September 27, 2022, https://abcdbelfast.omeka.net/items/show/115.

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