We notice that our energy and enthusiasm for climate change communication rises when we see ABCD as a part of a larger movement. We made this page to celebrate progress, hope, and the exciting climate change responses underway!
We also wrote this page to help connect the dots between climate concern, climate hope, and climate action. There are things each of us can work on today - from taking small personal action to working towards big systemic change. We all matter. Together, we can - and are - making a difference. And nothing feels as hopeful as taking action with others against climate change.
~ The ABCD Team
Belfast and Waldo County Progress
Belfast is one of Maine’s smallest cities and Waldo one of its smallest counties, but our community has an outsized role in leading climate change response and action. Belfast has not one but three water level gauges - more than any municipality in the world, according to Anastasia Fischer of U.S. Harbors - collecting data to inform a managed response to sea level rise. Waldo County boasts nearly two dozen organizations - from churches to University Extension offices to grassroots efforts - engaged in climate change mitigation, accommodation, and resilience. These organizations have recently come together to coordinate efforts and inform the Belfast Climate Action Plan.
You can click here to read more on the many climate-related accomplishments of Belfast, ME.
In new and old ways, Mainers are making choices that reduce resource consumption and lower carbon emissions while maintaining or even improving their quality of life. From growing or buying locally grown food to volunteering with Window Dressers to installing heat pumps and solar panels, Mainers are taking climate action.
Maine has a bold plan - Maine Won’t Wait - for taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions and prepare our state for a disrupted climate more sustainable future. Visit the Maine Climate Council website for details and to access the One Year Progress Report published in December 2021. Here are some highlights:
- 30+ Maine governmental entities have begun electrifying their fleets
- Hybrid-electric and electric vehicle registrations have increased 90% since 2019
- 25 Maine municipalities have started or launched climate action plans
- 40,000 heat pumps have been installed since 2019
Change is happening, albeit unevenly, across our country. The number of people concerned about climate change in the US now exceeds the number of people who are not. At the close of 2021, the US Environmental Protection Agency released the strictest greenhouse gas emission standards ever for automobiles. America’s largest cities are taking action now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, independent of any federal actions. And some corporations are setting aggressive goals for themselves, a key indication that financial interests are recognizing the inevitability of changes to price and availability of petroleum fuels. For example, the US-based US-based Crowly, a global shipping and logistics company, has committed to make its operations net-zero in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. And the fabled Ford Motor Company has announced the release of the Ford F-150 Lightning, a high-performance all-electric truck also designed to both charge from and provide auxiliary power from homes, replacing gas- and diesel-powered generators and introducing new resiliency to the power grid.
Driven at least in part by recognition that theirs are the lives that will be most impacted by climate change, young people are leading efforts to raise awareness and demand accountability and action from governments worldwide. Young activists like Greta Thunberg have successfully brought new attention to climate change and inspiring their peers and older generations. Organizations like Earth Guardians and the Sunrise Movement are dedicated to supporting and training young people to lead society towards a more sustainable and just future.
And youth aren’t the only voices calling for change. Bill McKibben’s Third Act makes a bold call to “experienced Americans” (e.g., those with 60 or more years of life) to contribute their knowledge and resources to protect our planet and society.
Here in Maine, these trends are readily visible. Youth-led organizations such as Maine Youth for Climate Justice and Maine Environmental Changemakers are giving leadership and support to young people. Belfast’s own youth are getting in on the action - Jonah Lovejoy’s participation in a 2021 meeting with Maine Climate Council was covered by the Republican Journal. Adult-led organizations like the Maine chapter of 350.org are supporting these efforts as a core component of their mission to fight for climate justice.
In 2006, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth was released. In 2007 Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shared the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change." It fell short, however, of launching dramatic decreases in greenhouse gas emission. But Al Gore perseveres with his message and powerful presentation of the fact. Watch his 15-min October 2021 TED talk, How to make radical climate action the new normal, for a whirlwind tour of the current situation, opportunity, and his case for hope.
All of Belfast: Climate Dialogues began in 2020 as a grant-funded project to facilitate conversations among a broad cross-section of the Belfast community about climate change. The ABCD project became a presence in the community, establishing the Library as a source for information and a gathering place for conversation about the climate crisis and community response. From 2020-2023, ABCD held over 35 educational programs & community conversations engaging well over 1,000 people. The Library will continue to offer educational programming on topics around the climate crisis; and will continue supporting citizens to take action.