May 19, 2022
This is just to inform you that our Climate Conversations: What Can WE Do? program originally set for June 2nd HAS BEEN CHANGED to Thursday, June 16th at 6:30-8:00. More information will be coming in the next few days, but wanted you to know of the change.
May 11, 2022
Way back a year and a half ago, we had a Climate Conversations: What Can WE Do? zoom with Robert Spencer and Tom Hammett. Within that program we had breakout rooms to discuss actions we might take in our community. Two wonderful things came out of that time together: the creation of a pollinator garden and the creation of PEERWaterford, local citizens coming together to apply for the Governor’s Maine Won’t Wait grant opportunity. The outcome is the receipt of a Maine grant totaling approximately $48,000 with the majority going to split-system heat pumps in the Town Hall building for better energy efficiency and so that it may be used as a center of refuge if necessary. $7,000 of that grant is for the creation of a community garden that is located on the Waterford Fairgrounds property on Nicole Lane. This will serve as a place to come together as community, work, share and play side-by-side, and learn about growing, harvesting and preserving produce. It is to be a place where everyone is welcome and all can share in community. If you want to learn more about the community garden contact our Community Coordinator, Kelley Halter Schaeffer at email@example.com. If you want to be involved with future opportunities in making Waterford a more energy efficient and resilient community email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SO…….this is what happens when we dream and imagine together! And this is just the beginning of What WE Can Do when we embrace the challenge.
On Friday, May 6th with the guidance of Jane Traill, our Master Gardener Volunteer, several gathered together at Beech Hill Farm to dig up the daffodils that wintered over in the greenhouse and then transplant them to the library. The work was completed in an hour and a half!!!! What a team and thank you so much to those who were able to help. We will keep you informed as the garden evolves. There will be plenty of opportunity plant and grow our pollinator garden together and of course, enjoy its beauty!
An additional email will come out soon about our in-person Climate Conversations: What Can WE Do? coming up on Thursday, June 2nd with speaker and author Sue Inches who will share with us her thoughts on bridging the gap between polarized views and ways we might consider in coming together to face the changes and challenges that are before everyone of us. Community matters and working together is what it is going to take to move forward. The program will run the usual time of 6:30-8:00.
With gratitude for each of you and the work we are doing.
Doretta and Kerry
May 26. 2022
Sue Inches is joining us for a program and discussion on Thursday, June 16th from 6:30-8:00 at the Wilkins House next to the Waterford Congregational Church at 15 Plummer Hill Road in Waterford. Her talk is entitled, “Bridging the Left and the Right: How to communicate across the ideological divide.”
Drawing from her experience in public policy, Sue has authored Advocating for the Environment: How to Gather Power and Take Action which she shared with us in October at our Pine Tree Amendment program. Sue “discusses storytelling, empathy, mindset, and how effective communication can help us collaborate with others, even those with opposing views.”
Her message is critical to addressing climate change and environmental impacts that are affecting everyone. Understanding how we can work together toward positive change is exactly what we need in order to move forward with healthy decisions for our collective future.
We look forward to seeing you on June 16th.
Doretta & Kerry
April 8, 2022
We hope this finds you well. Following are a few things we would like to share with you about what is happening and what we are looking forward to.
1. Spring is here and with it the excitement of getting back to work on our Pollinator/Therapy Garden located at the Waterford Library. Late last fall we planted 300 daffodils in one of our greenhouses at Beech Hill Farm as the ground was already to firm to plant in the actual garden. They have been blooming beautifully and with the creative idea that Jane Traill brought to us, many were bundled and sold through the Fare Share Coop. The profits will give us a step forward on purchasing plants this spring and summer. This coming Monday, April 11th, we are having a couple more loads of loam delivered and work will be happening on establishing the outline of the walkway and the addition of a third granite bench that the town was generous enough to give us from some they had set aside. Many of you have contributed to helping us get this project going and it is with your gifts/donations of money, time and energy that are continuing to move it forward. The generosity that exists in our community continues to fill us with gratitude. Please stop by and take notice in the weeks ahead as we “grow” our garden together.
2. On another note, we are excited to share that because our Climate Conversations were happening and our community was already thinking about issues around climate impacts and resilience, we found ourselves in a position to readily respond to a grant opportunity through the Governor's Office of Policy, Innovation and Future(GOPIF). PEER Waterford (Partners in Energy, Efficiency and Resilience) was formed and after Select Board support and assistance from our Code Enforcement Officer, John Bell we pulled together 3 zoom workshops in which those present shared thoughts and developed priorities related to climate initiatives. What rose to the top were updating municipal buildings for energy efficiency, creating a refuge center and building a community garden that would bring folks together and educate about the benefits and how-to of growing your own food. These priorities met the initiatives set by GOPIF and we were able to meet an application deadline of March 22nd. As we await a response, we feel that our Climate Conversations helped to set the stage for this opportunity and we are very grateful. We will keep you informed and hope that you will consider joining with us as we move ahead on further grant opportunities for our community.
3. Finally, we are gearing up to reinstate our gatherings at the Wilkins House and will be sending out an invite soon for an opportunity to continue our gathering and learning together about what WE can do to make a positive difference.
Kerry and Doretta
February 4, 2022
We hope this finds you well and beginning this new year with much optimism. There is a great deal of good being done throughout our state to raise awareness and work toward addressing climate change. Among them is a wonderful grant opportunity coming out of our Governor’s Office of Policy, Innovation and Future that we have brought before the Waterford Select Board. Their enthusiasm for the opportunity it offers our Town of Waterford was so encouraging that we have put together some gatherings to learn about the grants and how we might choose to act. The first round of applications needs to be sent in by March 22nd so that does not leave a whole lot of time. With that in mind, we set up a small working committee to get things off the ground and running. Our email is PEERWaterford@gmail.com (PEER = Partners in Energy, Efficiency and Resilience) We will definitely be looking for more participants as we move forward.
If you want background information before our meeting you can look up ithese grants and action items under each strategy by going to this site: https://www.maine.gov/future/climate/community-resilience-partnership
The two virtual workshops we have set up are below with zoom links for each. If you are not able to click on them, simply copy and paste them into your url.
Topic: PEER Waterford Grant Info Meeting
Time: Feb 12, 2022 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 889 7359 7119
Topic: PEER Waterford Grant Priorities setting
Time: Feb 26, 2022 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 824 6267 2437
If you are not a Waterford resident, we apologize that you cannot participate with us, however, this is available to every town in Maine so you might consider bringing it to your town leadership. We can help you with information.
This opportunity fits so well within our original plan of Climate Conversations: What Can WE Do! Action has always been our aim. The opportunity is now before us. We hope you will join us AND please spread the word about town wherever you can. The idea is to have as many voices possible represented.
Kerry and Doretta
November 11, 2021
Author, Physician, and Environmentalist Dr. Wendy Weiger to Offer Workshop
on Healing in Nature in Waterford
The Waterford Congregational Church Climate Conversations series, is delighted to present a session entitled Healing in Nature led by Dr. Wendy Weiger on November 20 from 1-4. The session will take place in the Wilkins House in Waterford, followed by an easy walk in the local woods to apply what we learn.
Dr. Weiger earned both her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in neurobiology from Harvard Medical
School, where she continued her career in medical research exploring the ways the chemical
and electrical activities of the brain form our thoughts and emotions. In the midst of that
career, she experienced several profound personal experiences that led her to shift her life
focus to her strong spiritual foundation, move to the north woods of Maine, become a
registered Maine guide, and follow a path that combined her scientific training with her
expanding spirituality. She is now involved, in her own words, in “sharing my journey, hoping to
guide others to the solace nature offers us all—and hoping others will be inspired to work
toward healing the wounds we are collectively inflicting upon our planet.”
Her session will help us understand how nature heals us on many levels—physical, mental, and
spiritual. In this time of great anxiety over threats like COVID and the climate crisis, each of us
can use new and personal techniques to heal ourselves and our planet. Dr. Weiger will share
her experiences in the Maine woods through her photos and her stories, demonstrating
techniques she’s learned from a wide variety of spiritual sources around the world, and then
she’ll lead us on a guided woodland walk to allow us to see for ourselves how powerful her
ideas about healing in nature can be.
The Climate series—called Climate Conversations: What Can WE Do?—began in the fall of 2019
and has explored such topics as how we interact with nature, and how technologies, policies,
and politics can have a positive impact on addressing the climate crisis. The group has also
explored what we can personally do to mitigate the harm caused by a changing climate. For
example, the group is building a demonstration pollinator garden at the Waterford Library to
encourage members of the broader community to take action on their own properties.
September 9, 2021
Two pieces of exciting news to share. First, we’ve scheduled our next climate conversation for the afternoon of Sunday, October 3rd. Second, we’ve made some very important progress on our pollinator garden project.
Advocacy and the Pine Tree Amendment
First things first—our next session.
We are delighted to share with you that we’ve been in conversation with the leaders of The Pine Tree Amendment Organization about their work and how it fits with what we are trying to do with our climate conversations. During the last session of the Maine legislature, which you all know was busy and productive in terms of the climate and environment issues we all care about, a bipartisan group of legislators introduced legislation to amend the bill of rights of our constitution. The recommended change, referred to as the Pine Tree Amendment, would guarantee:
The people of the State have the right to a clean and healthy environment and to the preservation of the natural, cultural and healthful qualities of the environment. The State may not infringe upon these rights. The State shall conserve, protect and maintain the State’s natural resources, including, but not limited to, its air, water, land and ecosystems for the benefit of all the people, including generations yet to come.
The amendment enjoys bipartisan support, but it also requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass. That is always a high bar. The vote has been postponed until the next session of the legislature where it will need a great deal of citizen advocacy to pass and that’s where our next session comes into play. See the Pine Tree Amendment website for more details: (https://www.pinetreeamendment.org).
The session will be led by Susan Inches and will feature a talk and conversation entitled “Finding Hope in the Face of Climate Change.” Sue will introduce us the importance and the techniques she has developed for effective advocacy. Her talk will be followed by some hands-on creative activities that allow us to apply her insights in support of the Pine Tree Amendment or any other environment or climate-oriented issue of your choosing. More specifics will be coming later.
Sue has been active in environmental issues and the Maine state government throughout her career. She served as Deputy Director of the Maine State Planning Office focused on the environment. Prior to that she was the Director of the Maine Department of Marine Resources. In these positions and in others she developed a capability for advocacy that acknowledged the importance of all sides of an issue and allowed her to build a compelling case for what was best for the people of Maine. She’s a firm believer in balancing the needs of the environment and the needs of people who depend upon the environment to make a living. She teaches advocacy skills throughout Maine including at Bates and Colby. She is also the author of an new book Advocating for the Environment: How to Gather your Power and Take Action which we will have available for purchase at the event. (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/670609/advocating-for-the-environment-by-susan-b-inches/ ).
We will hold this session outdoors on Sunday afternoon, October 3rd from 1:00 to 3:30, on the lawn between the church and the Wilkins House. We have a rain date of October 16th if we need it. Masks are required. We’re watching the COVID numbers very carefully and we will make a decision within the next few days whether or not we will redesign the session into a virtual format.
Pollinator Garden Project
We have made some terrific progress on our garden project at the library (even though it’s not visible yet). We’ve located just the right piece of granite for the additional bench we have in the design. It belongs to the town and the Select Board has agreed to donate it to our project. We’ve been unable to make other progress before we got this piece settled because it requires some heavy equipment to move the bench in place. We also have a commitment for this part of the project. Once that’s done, we will be bringing in composted loan to begin building the beds. When we say it means we will be reaching out to you for help in moving the soil into place in preparation for planting. We also have gotten a few plants to begin our planting work.
Maybe most significantly, we have received several donations to help cover the cost of the garden. Thank you to each of the people and groups who have donated. We will need more than that 4 to do the job right even with the volunteer help to do the planting so any donations you would be willing to make to the cause will help. Please make your checks payable to the Waterford Library. They have graciously agreed to manage the budget and finances for this effort. Your donation can be dropped off at the library or mailed to Waterford Library, P.O. Box 176, Waterford, ME 04088.
Kerry and Doretta
June 15, 2021
We are pleased to tell you that we have scheduled a live session of the climate group. Hooray!
We will be meeting at the Waterford Library, outdoors at 5:30 on June 30th (changed to July 14) for an interactive session on the topic of planning and planting a wildlife/pollinator garden. This topic came out of our last zoom meeting and we are delighted to announce that Jane Traill, a Master Gardener will be leading our session. We are also delighted to announce the support of the library in making this project come to life.
The session will offer us a chance to both provide input and learn from Jane as we plan and design the garden space. It will provide each of us with an opportunity to understand just what it means to plant a “wildlife/pollinator” garden as well as to become familiar with native plants that can enhance the beauty and the sustainability of our own properties.
Recognizing the importance of biodiversity as well as mitigating the impact of climate change through thoughtful plantings, is critical to our ability to make a difference in addressing the climate crisis (see article).
This approach will be front and center in our discussion on June 30th and it will guide us as we plan and create this garden in the lovely Waterford Library space.
We hope to see you there and we hope that you’ll continue to help throughout our project work.
Kerry and Doretta
Subject: BREAKING NEWS: Maine just became the first state to divest from fossil fuels!
Maine made history today and I am really excited about it.
The Maine Legislature enacted LD 99 — a bill that requires the state to divest itself of, or stop investing in, assets in the fossil fuel industry — finally, aligning Maine money with Maine values.
Maine is now the first state to pass legislation to divest from fossil fuels. In February, I testified in support of LD 99, where I urged divestment from fossil fuels, saying "fossil fuel divestment is the only moral choice for governments that care about their citizens and the future of their state." Thanks to the work of youth climate groups across Maine, our lawmakers listened!
Maine youth climate groups are largely responsible for this win and we thank leaders from Maine Youth for Climate Justice, Maine Climate Action NOW!, Sierra Club Maine, 350 Maine, and others for their incredible work on this effort to continue pushing our state to be a climate action leader. Additionally, we thank Rep. Maggie O’Neil of Saco for sponsoring this legislation and encouraging her colleagues to follow her light in recognizing that we have a responsibility to divest from the industry that’s destroying our future and reinvest into climate solutions for Maine.
The decision to divest Maine state pensions or annuity funds from the 200 largest publicly traded fossil fuel companies carries symbolic weight and could influence other states to join us. I am relieved and truly blown away by this monumental achievement.
Since 2013, young people from all over the country and world have been participating in fossil fuel divestment campaigns, and most often, these youth-run campaigns calling on their schools or colleges to divest their endowments from fossil fuels and reinvest in socially responsible funds have been wildly successful. I got my start in the climate movement with my college’s fossil fuel divestment campaign. Alongside my incredible team at Dartmouth, we organized the largest climate rally in the history of New Hampshire and brought national attention to using fossil fuel divestment as a unique strategy to combat the climate crisis and align our institutions with their values.
Internationally renowned environmentalist, founder of 350.org, and fellow New England resident, Bill McKibben, says it best: “If it’s wrong to wreck the planet, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.”
Ches Gundrum, MCV" <email@example.com>
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about this historic moment for Maine, click here to read more.
May 30, 2021
This week has been awesome for people like us who are concerned about the impacts of the climate crisis and what we can do to prevent or mitigate those impacts. It’s all about big oil and several major setbacks for them. It’s also about what people like us can do to take meaningful action. Read this article from today’s New York Times and give a really big WHAHOO!
A second bit of good news is that Jane Traill has agreed to work with us on our wildlife/pollinator garden idea. We are in process of selecting a suitable site. More on that soon. In the meantime, here’s a little about Jane, for those who don’t know her. She is a long time Waterford resident. She’s also a state certified Master Gardener. She is intent on helping us make the process of creating this garden a real learning experience for everyone involved. Our main goal is to ensure that each of us has an opportunity to really understand very practical things we can do in our own spaces that will help our environment and enhance the beauty of our own property.
Kerry and Doretta
Good Morning All,
Just to make things clear, I am currently taking the Master Gardener Volunteer course with the State of Maine Cooperative Extension. At the end of the program, I will need to volunteer 40 hours with an approved project. It is my hope that this project will be approved. I took this course over twenty years ago and have continued to volunteer with a variety of projects during the years after completion. Official approval of this project or not, consider me part of the group.
This email is to let you know that we are postponing next Tuesday’s (5/24) Climate Conversation. Our intent was to do an update of our ongoing project and to have a speaker who would give us an update of the busy legislative agenda in Augusta. Most of our most informed colleagues in Augusta are so involved with the end of the session that we felt it was unfair to ask for an update at this point in time. We’d rather let them continue to do the important work of keeping our legislators informed on the issues and to push for sensible and effective legislation that protects our environment and supports our own efforts to protect against the climate crisis. We’re sure you’d agree with that.
In the meantime:
We will let you know when our next meeting will take place. We are trying to get a better handle on when and how we might safely meet in person together. More on that soon as well.
Our group that is working on planting a garden that will protect wildlife and support pollinators is moving ahead, albeit more slowly that we would like. Bob Spencer and Jane Traill have been doing some initial planning. Bob is prepared to take some soil samples. And, we will be doing some final site selection in the coming week. More to come.
Here are three links that will help you appreciate the enormous momentum building in Maine to support our efforts to mitigate the climate crisis. There is still time to reach out to legislators to make our case prior to the final votes.
Finally, our group colleague Tom Ainsworth sent along the following quote. It certainly encourages a lot of reflection.
We will be back in touch soon.
Kerry and Doretta
April 2, 2021
The button below thakes you to a recap of an excellent session (virtual of course) I attended earlier in the week. In it is a link to a recording of the session and links to some of the really valuable tools and information available on the NRCM website. The gist of the session was how to help us track important legislation working it’s way through the statehouse, how to advocate for your position on the legislation virtually or in person, and how to understand the issues of each piece of legislation. I attended a breakout group within the session about the CMP Corridor and I must say the argument against it (NRCM is opposed to the Corridor project) was the clearest, most succinct, and most compelling I have heard.
More later on this topic of advocacy, but for now please have a look at the video of the Zoom session which is accessible below:
February 23, 2021
Doretta and I want to remind you of our first virtual session March 23rd at 6:30 pm. We will all join in a discussion of Mary Robinson’s excellent book Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience and the Fight for a Sustainable Future.
In order to make this as interactive as possible we will be breaking up into smaller groups for part of the session and to do that efficiently we need to know who will be joining us for that evening. As a result, we are asking that you let us know by email if you will be attending. We will send you a reminder email with the Zoom link and we’ll be able to manage the breakout groups.
Please respond to my email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thanks in advance. We really look forward to all of you attending.
February 9, 2021
No! We have not forgotten. In fact, now more than ever, we need to be aware of our obligation to our climate and to the earth that sustains us, to our fellow citizens struggling with various and present impacts of the climate crisis, and to our children and grandchildren who will inherit the planet we leave them.
So, in the spirit of renewal of our personal commitment to confront our climate crisis, to act in ways that will sustain us all, and to live in a spirit of stewardship in and for the earth, we have decided to restart our climate conversations. We will begin with a virtual session on March 23rd at 6:30 pm.
Our first session will focus on Mary Robinson’s wonderful book, Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future. The book is available on most online book sites like Amazon either in electronic or paperback. Ms. Robinson is a former President of Ireland and has spent the last twenty years serving in a number of capacities as a champion for people who are already facing significant impacts from the climate crisis.
Peter Jennings, the former anchor of ABC News, often advised people “don’t worry so much about talking to the movers and shakers of the world, talk instead to the moved and the shaken. In that spirit, Ms. Robinson relates many poignant and powerful stories about how flood and drought, famine and fire, and numerous other calamities we face today are devastating lives of normal people and these calamities are, in fact, only a glimpse of what’s to come. Throughout these dire descriptions, however, she maintains a positive and hopeful outlook and points us to many ways that we can take action to protect ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.
We’ll ask each participant in our Zoom meeting to come prepared to discuss the book with each other in small groups and then share their collective wisdom with the large group. As always, our focus will be on “what we can do” personally and collectively to meet this challenge.
Those of you on our mailing list will have already received in late January a couple of important articles discussing the changes the new administration is making in Washington and reactions to those changes from leaders in business, environmental groups, and others. Significant changes are on the way including from unusual organizations, like General Motors. GM announced at the end of January that they will make a total shift of their fleet to all-electric by 2035. Imagine that!
While this is a wonderful announcement it begs serious questions of social and economic justice, such as how to make those new cars affordable, or how to create an inexpensive electric infrastructure to support them? We will be addressing issues like these in our upcoming virtual climate conversations.
We’ll also be keeping you posted with additional articles and links on our church website (www.wccucc.com). Please join us March 23, 2021 @ 6:30 pm for the renewal of our Climate Conversations and encourage others to join you. All in our church community and beyond are welcome. Login details will follow. In the meantime, please read Mary Robinson’s book so you can come prepared to discuss it with each other.
Kerry and Doretta
February 8, 2021 - A New Day
We are preparing to launch our climate conversations again. Yahoo!!!! These will be virtual at first, as you might imagine, but we’re still planning on making them very interactive and focused on action. So, keep your eyes on your email.
In the meantime, this article will do two things for us: first, it will bring some good news (we all need a dose of that), and second, it focuses on action, especially personal and small group action. Enjoy.
Kerry and Doretta
January 27, 2021 - Today is Climate Day
President Biden has designated each of his first 10-days, or so, to a specific issue. Today is all about the climate crisis. Below you will find a link to an interesting analysis from the NYT on issues and policies, support and resistance, and, as the title suggests, “the battle lines” that are being drawn around how we will respond as a country.
We also want you to know that we are looking into ways that we might restart our conversations soon. Naturally, this will need to be in some virtual way, but we feel that the next year or two will be absolutely decisive in acknowledging the crisis of climate change and moving rapidly to addressing it.
Here’s the NY Times article:
We look forward to talking with you all soon.
Kerry and Doretta
January 26, 2021 - Green Cars Make Sense
This piece from Margaret Renkl in the NYT gives a lot of hope that we’re getting closer and closer to affordable and convenient electric cars. If you’ve never read her before you’ll enjoy other things she’s written. She’s a terrific observer of nature and human nature in her own backyard in Tennessee.
From The New York Times: Even for Bargain Hunters, Green Cars Make Sense
Electric cars are an even better value than I understood when I first bought one.
Doretta and Kerry
December 1, 2020
Today the Maine Climate Council conducted a Zoom call to release its final report, “Maine Won’t Wait.” It was a terrific event featuring various members of the Council, recognition from our Senators and Congress members, and participation by John Kerry and Governor Mills. The mood was upbeat, realistic, thorough and action-oriented. It was a real testament to the ability of the citizens of Maine and to our leadership.
We thought you might like to see the session and also have a link to the final report. There’s much here to give each of us something to think about.
Doretta and Kerry
November 24, 2020
We have certainly been missing our Climate Conversations these last many months. Having so much bad climate news hasn’t helped, for sure. Now there seems to be a glimmer of hope so we are thinking of trying to begin again, slowly, in respect for the pandemic and the various restrictions that imposes on all of us. We’re not exactly sure what form that might take yet, but we are exploring several options and we wanted you to be aware of that. We invite you to share any thoughts you might have about the format or the topics.
A couple of specific things make this an appropriate time to reconnect with you. First, after having dealt with a four-year assault on climate and environmental regulations, which has turned the clock back to the days before the formation of the EPA, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Today, President-elect Biden announced the creation of a new Cabinet level post called “Climate Envoy,” and he’s appointed John Kerry to that post. Kerry’s task will be to redevelop a global leadership role for the US in addressing the climate crisis. That is very exciting.
Our second incentive is to share this article:
As you may recall we had a session early on dealing with how to discuss climate issues with people who might not agree with us. Over the holidays many of us will be with friends and family (virtually or in person) with whom we’d like to discuss the climate crisis and how we might respond to it. The article is by David Brooks. He shares some great advice for having productive conversations about almost anything, and we thought offered some great ideas for conversing about climate. Let us know what you think about it.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving,
Doretta and Kerry
July 14, 20202
Dear Climate Conversation Friends,
We are so grateful for the months we shared of gatherings around climate issues and efforts we can take to do our part in mitigating climate change. We found it deeply heartwarming and exciting that we averaged more than 50 individuals at each of our monthly gatherings that began in October of 2019. Our hope was to complete one year this October 2020 having generated enthusiasm, determination and personal commitments to foster positive change. While Covid-19 ended our opportunity to host in-person meetings, our interest has not changed in continuing to encourage everyone’s involvement in raising awareness, being examples and speaking out and up where change needs to happen to insure a healthy planet for the next generation to come.
Groups have been offering Zoom gatherings around these important issues, many of whom we had present in our Climate Conversation: What Can We Do? gatherings. The National Resource Council of Maine (NRCM), the Center for an Ecology Based Economy (CEBE), Lakes Environmental Association (LEA), and Maine Audubon have been hosting wonderfully inspiring and enriching presentations. We encourage you to follow what they are doing and volunteer wherever you can.
Though we look forward to a future when we can get together in conversation once again, we hope that you will continue in the pursuit of helping to build a healthier planet. One of the most significant things we all can be doing in this time is exercising our right to vote. Vote for planet Earth and legislation that will protect our environment and our democracy.
Doretta and Kerry
July1/3/20 - To read special message about the July 7 AUDUBON MEETING
June 1, 2020
Dear Climate Friends,
This comes as a reminder that we will not be hosting our June Climate Conversations on Recycling that was to be led by Charlie and Antoinette Tarbell. We will let you know when we plan to reschedule them and appreciate the work they have done in preparation.
We look forward to the opportunity when we can come back together again to share our common concern for the environment. In the meantime, we are encouraged by the creative ways folks at NRCM, LEA, CEBE and Maine Audubon (to name only a few) have brought programs into our homes through Zoom and various formats that are keeping us informed and inspired.
In the midst of these challenging times we continue to hold on to hope that through our collective work we can make the changes necessary for the common good of all and the health of our planet. We miss you and our conversations, but trust that we each are putting into action the things we still can do to bring positive change.
There is much out there to read and learn from. Kerry Johnson passed along this article that he thought might be an interesting read for everyone.
I found it intriguing and it raised, for me, a host of questions. We loved to hear your thoughts.
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!
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
Here are a couple of links from the Times that are really excellent for our Earth Day week. We thought you might like to see them.
The first is a comprehensive, multi-part article that addresses many of the major issues and questions we all have about the climate crisis, what we can do, and how we need to encourage others to follow our lead.
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.
April 15, 2020
Dear Climate Friends,
Kerry and I miss our coming together in our Climate Conversations: What Can WE Do? to discuss and learn ways that we can make a positive difference. Though we have had to postpone our gatherings, we trust that we will be able to come back together again in the future. For now, we hope that you will find ways to stay connected in the growing work being done to inform and act towards climate change. I have attached the following information that you might find interesting.
In these heartbreaking and disturbing times of the coronavirus, we continue to wish you and your families well. Together yet apart, may we find ways to support one another, particularly those who are suffering the most from job loss, health concerns, financial insecurity – to name a few of the impacts this crisis has created.
In the midst of all this, I stood watching the full moon rise over Rice Hill last Tuesday, noticed the resilience of my daffodils that shook off the snow to reach for the sun, saw the mating of a pair of kestrels on the fence post in the back field and in these found consolation in the magnificent beauty of the created order that unfolds in each moment moving forward through the seasons. May this time that causes us to slow down, invite us to take greater notice and appreciation for our environment and who we are within it. In our forced stillness Earth is breathing easier. May we take valuable lessons from this time that we learn in the days ahead to walk more gently on the Earth.
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,