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September 2019

In keeping with our vision to serve our community, Waterford Congregational Church will sponsor a year-long series of monthly conversations on climate change and the environment, focusing on our roles and responsibilities as informed citizens in protecting our planet. This is a Pastor’s Initiative that will be led by Rev. Doretta Colburn and Kerry Johnson. Our emphasis will not only be to better understand the issues, but, more importantly, to determine and encourage individual and collective actions that will help ensure our children and grandchildren inherit a healthy Earth.


Each conversation will focus on critical climate issues that have particular relevance locally and across the State of Maine.  Each of these highly interactive sessions will consist of short presentations by knowledgeable experts, facilitated discussions around the topic, and a call to action. Participants will play an active role in setting and driving our goals and agenda. They will also identify actions they can take personally and with others to address the enormous challenges we face because of climate change.


The first three sessions are described in more detail below, followed by a list of suggested subsequent topics. Each session will be held at the Wilkins House from 6:30 to 8:00 pm on the dates listed. Please join us and feel free to reach beyond our church community to invite friends to join you. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out and ask us.


Session 1; Tuesday, Oct. 8: A World View

Led by Church member and Virginia Tech environment professor Dr. Tom Hammett, this session will examine the state of the world’s air, water and land and the impact of climate change on the Earth’s population, and specifically on Maine.


Session 2; Tuesday, November 12: Spiritual and Ethical Perspectives

Led by the Rev. Doretta Colburn, the session will explore what our traditions, our values, and our faith tell us about our role as human in the care and nature of our Earth and how to utilize them in driving us to take critical actions.


Session 3; Tuesday, Dec. 3: Stories from the Frontlines

We will engage farmers, environmentalists, fishermen and others who have seen and experienced the impact of climate change in a panel discussion on their challenges, and from their experiences, identify things that each of us can do to address the realities of climate change

December 2019

We are excited to share with you our next three sessions. Our official posters will be forthcoming, but we wanted to get this to you now so you can mark your calendars! Both of us have been approached by several of you regarding actions and ideas that you have been considering. We are thrilled that these conversations are stimulating such thought and action. It is what makes these gatherings significant. 

We wish you our best through this holiday season!   Kerry & Doretta

Session 4: Tuesday, Jan. 7: Talking about the Climate Crisis 

How do we talk with each other about the climate crisis in ways that both inspire and lead to action? How do we influence others to act through honest, real, practical, and meaningful conversation?  Tyler Kidder of The Onion Foundation and the Maine Climate Table, a partnership of over 200 individuals and organizations, will lead this important, interactive session. She will provide tools and techniques that speak from the heart and make our communication count. 


Session 5: Tuesday, Feb. 4: Working with Organizations in Maine

Lisa Pohlmann, CEO, Natural Resources Council of Maine will speak with the group about outreach, influence, and activism.  She’ll give us a clear sense of what groups and organizations like hers are doing to actively address the climate crisis and protect our environment, and she will also provide some insights into what the State of Maine is doing and how we can influence that work as well.  Her session will be a lively invitation for us to directly impact decision-makers and thought leaders about our individual and collective responsibility to protect and preserve Earth.


Session 6: Tuesday, Mar. 3: Youth-led Environmental Work

Young people are deeply concerned about the health of the environment, the impact of the climate crisis and the inequity of who has historically had power and voice in the work. Maine Environmental Changemakers is a youth-led network that connects young Mainers passionate about the environment with peers and mentors working in the sector. They take on a wide array of environmental projects while developing leadership, communication and other skills as they create a more inclusive and equitable environmental approach. Several young Changemakers will share their exciting projects with us and offer insights into how we can help and participate in their important work. Hadley Couraud of Changemakers will lead the session. 


Natural Resource Council Maine


Gulf of Maine Research Institute


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


Regeneration International


Earth Charter Initiative


The Land Institute


National Audubon Society


Maine Climate Table


The National Wildlife Federation


The Nature Conservancy


The Sierra Club


Friends of the Earth


Lakes Environmental Association


Maine Lakes Society


First Light Wildlife Habitats


Elders Climate Action


We Are Still In




Climate Central


Cal State Chico: Regenerative Agriculture

Suggested Additional Topics


Just the Facts:  What do we know, how do we know it, how do we know we know it, what is the impact of doubt on action.

Talking about the Issues: How do we talk with each other about climate change and the environment in a way that leads to action.It’s Too Big for Me:  We must overcome the idea that this is such a huge issue that there “is nothing I can do personally.”  Together we will develop some individual and small community action plans that make sense and that can succeed.

What 1000 Years of History Tell us About Climate Change: Are these trends we’re seeing real or imagined?  How do we know? How will they impact us?

Let’s Talk About Money: A conversation about the costs of action and the costs of inaction. What’s My Carbon Footprint:  How do we calculate our personal impact to our warming climate and what are some things we can do to live more sustainably? We will explore this in terms of our food, energy use, transportation, and housing and we will identify ways to improve.

The Birds and the Bees: What is our role in preserving wildlife?  Why should we care?

Living Hope-filled Lives in a Climate-crisis World: Much of what we see and hear today is enough to make the most optimistic among us gloomy.  Why should we be optimistic? What’s working well and gives us reason to hope?

What Did We Learn and Where Are We Going? After a year working with each other, where are we?  What will we do next?  How have we changed?


Submitted by Kerry Johnson

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