Mount Desert resident Johannah Blackman on a hike with her daughter. Blackman will lead a workshop and discussion about parenting and climate change at the Feb. 10 A Climate to Thrive summit. PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHANNAH BLACKMAN

Climate summit planned

BAR HARBOR — Three years ago A Climate to Thrive, a group working toward energy independence for Mount Desert Island, held its first large public event. Since then, two MDI towns have installed solar panel arrays on public buildings, public and private solar farms have been built, food waste composting has increased and limits on plastic bags and polystyrene food containers have been enacted. And that’s just the beginning.

A Climate to Thrive will host its 2019 winter summit, “Building a Brighter Future: Stepping Up to the Climate Change Challenge,” Sunday, Feb. 10 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at MDI High School.

“The event will showcase the many ways that MDI is becoming a model for sustainability and some exciting new opportunities for taking our vision statewide,” event organizers said in a press release. Community members will have an opportunity to share new ideas, hear speakers, and help plan next steps to protect the local environment and combat climate change.

The program will feature two keynote speakers. Matt Prindiville, director of the national organization Upstream will talk about solutions to stop plastic pollution.

Newly elected State Representative Chloe Maxmin from Nobleboro will be one of the keynote speakers at A Climate to Thrive’s 2019 winter summit. PHOTO COURTESY OF ACTT

Chloe Maxmin, a recently elected Maine State Representative from Nobleboro, will speak on the proposed Green New Deal for Maine she sponsored before the state legislature in January. She will also lead a workshop on “people-powered politics.”

Maxmin put forward the Green New Deal for Maine proposal “to help my rural district create jobs, heat homes in winter, and protect the environment,” she told the Islander in an interview. Environmental initiatives also “focus on the work force and the economy,” she said. “We need to look at all these pieces together. It’s a complex issue.”

“I think we have so much power at the local level,” Maxmin continued. “Maine communities have a lot of power. Local action is really important.”

Other presenters at the summit will include MDI High School students Ella Izenour, Caroline Musson, Charlotte Partin, Locan Wilbur, Irene Choi, and Emma Freudig. They will share “two-minute success stories” on work they’ve been doing on decreasing plastic pollution, and addressing the challenges of climate change and sea level rise.

Woodworker Josh Hurst, restauranteur Michael Boland, Jeremy Dougherty of Witham Family Hotels, School Superintendent Marc Gousse, Jim Wilson of Isle au Haute Electric Power Company, Katy Longley of the Jackson Laboratory, Rose Avenia of Bar Harbor Farm, and other community leaders will be on hand to share stories of their environmental initiatives.

Workshops will cover diverse categories such as electric cars, tips on preparing food with local ingredients, solar energy for power and heat, and the elimination of single-use plastic.

Ideas for tackling climate change will also be presented from various angles, such as the “Parenting and Climate Change” workshop led by local climate activist and parent Johannah Blackman.

Blackman said she is looking for ways to talk to her children about climate change that will help them build awareness around the topic while also cultivating a sense of hope, agency and empowerment and ensuring that they maintain a playful, joyful, delightful connection with the world. “What tools exactly do citizens of a world with climate change most need, and how can parents, caregivers, and teachers encourage the building of those tools in childhood?” she said.

The event will feature local food provided by Sassafras Catering, August Moon Catering, Milk & Honey Café, Bar Harbor Farm, Open Table MDI, Clark Point Catering, Blue Ox Blueberries, Peekytoe Provisions, Garden Side Dairy, Old Dog Baking Company, Gather, and more.

The event is free and open to the public. Donations are accepted, and volunteers are welcome. In the case of inclement weather, the event will be postponed until February 24.


Becky Pritchard
Former Islander reporter Becky Pritchard covered the town of Bar Harbor and was a park ranger in Acadia for six seasons.
Becky Pritchard

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