PORTLAND — A Maine environmental group says taking action on climate change at the local level is even more important after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of a global climate agreement earlier this month.
With its new Climate Action Maine initiative, Maine Conservation Voters hopes to organize grassroots efforts across the state to “keep pressure on elected leaders to engage in immediate action on climate change,” it said in a press release.
“The urgency of acting now to conserve Maine’s clean air, land, water and wildlife … matters more than ever under the destructive environmental policies of the Trump administration and (those of) Gov. Paul LePage,” the release added.
Sophie Halpin, communications and development coordinator for MCV, this week said the organization wants to “turn environmental values into priorities for the state of Maine. Through online and offline activism, we (will) advocate for sound environmental policies at the local, state and federal level.”
Halpin said Maine Conservation Voters launched its climate change initiative because “some of our leaders are failing us (and) people don’t want to slow our momentum (on building) an economy that works for everyone based on clean energy and conservation.”
Among its recent activities, Halpin said Climate Change Maine joined the People’s Climate March, encouraging Maine’s two U.S. senators “to oppose harmful regulation reform that would risk public health” and “encouraging members of Congress to support a budget that fully funds the (Environmental Protection Agency) to ensure continued clean air and water for all.”
The purpose of Climate Change Maine is to build “a movement that will sustain long-term action on (the) climate in Maine,” she said.
Halpin said Trump’s decision on the Paris climate accord produced one benefit: it “put a spotlight on climate change, and in particular the economic opportunities that our country will lose if we abandon our leadership role. There’s more attention and energy around conservation than there has been in a long time because of the level of attack we’re seeing from this president.”
Analies Dyjak, left, an intern with Maine Conservation Voters, collects signatures for action on climate change a recent day in downtown Portland.