We began our climate conversations last fall with a global view of the climate crisis led by Dr. Tom Hammett.  It was powerful to hear his stories about people high in the Himalayas struggling to maintain an existence in the face of climate change, and even more powerful to then bring the conversation closer to our situation here in Waterford.


Since that session we have been fortunate to share conversations with more than half a dozen other people who are working to help our environment, to build healthier communities, and to address the challenges of climate change here in Maine. Each session led us to think about what we can do individually and collectively to combat the effects of these challenges. We are sorry we missed the last two sessions, of course, and we hope to begin again with the June session.


Unbelievably, another challenge, coronavirus, has turned out to benefit the environment and potentially to positively impact the effects of climate change while we have been sheltering in place. We have driven far less than normal. We have shopped less for food and everything else. We’ve generated a lot less waste. We’ve generally “lived lighter on the planet.”  We have, in effect, participated in a giant science experiment involving the impact of our behavior on the planet.  Who would have thought we’d be doing something like that and who would have foreseen we would have had such a huge short-term impact?  Certainly, the air is cleaner, but it’s also likely that we’ve made at least a small dent in carbon emissions for the short term, and we have observed the proof for ourselves.


It also seems that our absence from our streets has invited wildlife to share our spaces.  Margaret Renkl reports in the New York Times (see the link below) about mountain goats roaming the streets of a small town in Wales, of coyotes meandering through San Francisco and Chicago, and of wild boars in the medians of Barcelona. It seems we really do share the earth with other species when they have a chance to appear.


Alan Weisman, in his thought experiment of a book called The World Without Us, imagines exactly that—what would the world be like if we humans were not here.  What would happen if we suddenly departed earth? In the preface he shares some lyrics from a song by Gustav Mahler based on a poem by Li-Tai Po:


The firmament is blue forever, and the Earth

Will long stand firm and bloom in spring.

But, man, how long will you live?


That is some question!  It seems to me, though, that our little science experiment proves that we humans can live quite a long time. So, in answer to the question of whether we can survive or not, I say “Yes, we can!” if we put our minds to it. Yes, we can, if we learn from the past several months about the impact our collective behavior has had on the planet.  Yes, we can if we find ways to preserve and expand upon those lessons.  Yes, we can, if we generate the collective will to act, and we demand that our leaders support those actions.  Yes, we can if we begin now, act now, join together now.


Please join us when we continue our climate conversations.  We need your thoughts. We need you to act. 

Yes, We Can!

Kerry Johnson

10 April, 2020


People in the northern Indian state of Punjab shared impressive images of the snow-capped Himalayan mountain range, which is now visible from more than 125 miles away, for the first time in 30 years due to the reduction in air pollution caused by the country's coronavirus lockdown.

NY Times article: Now We Know How Quickly Our Trashed Planet Can Heal

The second, is a list of books recommended by the Times staff on climate change.  It’s a very interesting list in that it has some older books and some newer books, some non-fiction and some fiction, authors you’ve probably heard of and maybe even read, and others we’ve never heard of.  There’s enough here to help us celebrate this Earth Day and probably a few more to come.  Happy reading.

We hope you’re taking good care of yourselves and of each other.  We are busy planting in our respective gardens, one of us with a much more challenging task (guess who?).  We’re learning new ways to stay connected with friends and family (virtual cocktail party anyone?).  And, we are missing our monthly climate conversations.


See you all soon, we hope.




Doretta and Kerry

April 17, 2020

Dear Climate Friends, 


Although every day is Earth Day in my book, this year is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22nd and there is much happening around Maine to celebrate throughout the week. We thought you may enjoy what the NRCM is offering to tune into as we continue our awareness of the beauty and wonder of this precious planet we call home. 





Dear Doretta,

Last Friday, we launched a virtual Lunch & Learn series. Nick Lund, Maine Audubon’s Outreach & Network Manager taught us about Maine spring birds — their migration patterns, how to identify them and how they’re being impacted by climate change. You can watch the recording here

More than 250 people joined us last week and asked for more! So, starting next week, we’ll be hosting free Lunch & Learns every Friday from 12:00-1:00 PM. We hope you can join us to connect and learn from the comfort of your home.

Friday, April 17: Climate-Friendly Farming

Rick Kersbergen, UMaine Cooperative Extension Professor and sustainable dairy and forage systems expert will teach us about no-till farming and other techniques to sequester carbon and reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. Register here!

Friday, April 24: Coastal Carbon Sequestration

Beverly Johnson, Professor of Geology at Bates College will talk about how we can manage coastal ecosystems, such as salt marshes and seagrass beds, to store carbon and help mitigate the drivers of climate change. And Kristen Puryear of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Maine Natural Areas Program will discuss how the Coastal and Marine Working Group of the Maine Climate Council is incorporating this knowledge in their work. Register here!

Friday, May 1: Sustainable Gardening

Rowen Gorman, Community Agriculture Program Coordinator at Cultivating Community will be teaching us how to create successful gardens this spring in our yards or on our decks using sustainable practices. Register here!

Best wishes to you and your loved ones during this time,





The Waterford  Congregational Church is UCC-affilliated.  We serve the community of Waterford, Maine and its environs. 

Our church's vison for congregrants encompasses Service, Music and Spirituality.

We embrace our rich history as well as  work toward a healthy and sustainable future.


(207) 583-6381


15 Plummer Hill Rd

PO Box PO 59

Waterford, ME 04088


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