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,