by Connor Ransom, MCA Intern • January 25, 2023
As a young person in Maine, I am concerned everyday about what my future might look like. Climate change, pollution, habitat loss, injustice. These crises are ever present in my mind, and it is often difficult to find hope.
But on a brisk Thursday morning in January, I found hope at the Environmental Priorities Coalition’s (EPC) legislative kick-off breakfast at the State House in Augusta.
This event brought together legislators, advocacy organizations, and activists from across the state, and showed me that there is a strong network of people fighting to improve the environment and ensure Maine has a healthy and bright future.
I had the chance to speak with Democratic and Republican legislators who both want to see strong action on the environment. This bipartisanship, something that seems to be increasingly rare, shows that there are people on both sides of the aisle who realize the critical importance of protecting the environment. We are all in this together, and collaboration is essential to achieving the change we need to see.
The EPC is an incredible example of the collaborative work we need in action. The Coalition includes organizations working on a broad range of topics, from climate, to public health, to justice, who have all come together to fight for change. Advocates at these organizations told me how important it is to be working together, allowing diverse voices and interests to be lifted up and heard. Everyone seemed to have one big thing to say: together, we are stronger.
It was a motivating morning, seeing everyone coming together. I found hope in the energy being created in the room and the readiness to get to work on environmental action. As the EPC’s priority bills were announced by legislators and advocates, I felt confident that everyone’s collaborative work would pay off.
But while that morning gave me a lot of hope, this year’s legislative session is just getting started. The collaborative work I saw must be continued, and not just by legislators and leading organizations. We all must come together to ensure the EPC’s priority bills are passed.
The six priority bills chosen by the EPC this year include policies addressing a range of issues: Tribal rights, environmental justice, forest management, energy, public health, and toxic pollutants. As environmental crises worsen every year, there is no time to wait to address these critical issues.
Getting these proposals passed won’t be easy though. They will likely face opposition as some leaders and lobbyists push to prevent the bold action needed to protect Maine’s future. This is where our continued collaborative action will be needed. We must contact our legislators, share with our friends, and reach out to our communities about the importance of these bills.
If we continue to work together, we can protect the Maine we love and have a healthy environment and future. To join this fight for Maine’s future, sign up to take action with the EPC and write a letter to the editor on the priority bills.