In 2014, the City of Belfast established an Energy Committee made up of 2 city councilors, private citizens and the City Planner. The Committee focused on finding ways to reduce fossil fuel use to save money and reduce carbon footprint.
Belfast's progress in addressing climate change
Since 2014, the city and the committee have overseen three solar projects, upgraded all municipal lighting to LED, conducted energy audits and made improvements to to city buildings and facilities.
In 2018, when the 5,000-panel solar farm on Crocker Road went online, the combined solar farms generate enough electricity to offset 90% of municipal electricity costs.
In 2020, the city completed two shoreland stabilization projects to mitigate significant coastal erosion, one in Belfast City Park, and the second on the east side of the Armistice Bridge.
Report: "Sea Change in the Gulf of Maine: The Outlook for Belfast"
In 2018 the City of Belfast established one of the first municipal climate committees in the state. One of the first actions of the Climate Crisis Committee was to produce the 3-part report entitled Sea Change in the Gulf of Maine: The Outlook for Belfast.
Inspiration for a new citizen science project about sea level rise and coastal flooding
This 2018 report led to the creation of the Coastal Flooding: Storms and Sea Level Rise Citizen Science Project. After the Climate Crisis Committee identified citizen science as a strategy to collect needed local flood data, the Committee reached out the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) for their expertise in climate change-driven sea level rise and community-driven citizen science. The Committee applied for a grant and worked collaboratively with GMRI to develop and pilot this project in Belfast.
Belfast recognized that the unique characteristics of a coastline can influence astronomical high tides and storm surge. Everyone is invited to gather and share local observations at coastal flood monitoring sites that will, in time, reveal patterns associated with local flooding and the impact these floods have on the community’s ecosystems and infrastructure. These observations will be used to inform city planning. You can also upload data about other places you care about, which may be your own backyard, a coastal trail, or favorite waterfront business.
Additional municipalities (Vinalhaven, Portland, South Portland) have now joined this project as well.
Climate Crisis Committee continues its work
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.