Artwork by Ed Nolde, Artist & Sierra Club Maine Volunteer
Artwork by Marena Bach
Sierra Club Maine Receives
Sustainable Event Award
Sierra Club Maine is thrilled to have received the Sierra Club CA Sustainable Event Award for our 2023 Annual Celebration which took place on December 6th! Our events team worked diligently to ensure the celebration was as sustainable as possible.
This included applying 21 sustainable tips, such as choosing a venue that was easily accessible by public transportation and offering carpooling. We used compostable plates and utensils, cloth napkins and tablecloths, and glass drinkware. Local, organic food was served—most of which was vegetarian or vegan. Leftover food went home with attendees (in the containers they arrived in!) to avoid food waste. We did not use any single-use decorations, and utilized a local municipal composting program.
The Sustainable Event Award was started with a desire to practice Jemez Principle #6: “We must ‘walk our talk.’ We must be the values that we say we’re struggling for and we must be justice, be peace, be community.”
In 2022, CA adopted the proposed sustainable in-person event resolution that provides 36 tips and references 4 national policies: Agriculture and Food Policy, Pest Management Policy, Transportation Policy, and Zero Waste Policy. It also includes a variety of resolutions, campaigns and letters to governmental agencies. Interested in helping plan future sustainable events?
We’d love to have you! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
or register to attend our Volunteer Orientation on February 14th
|The Maine Legislature hit the ground running in January, with public hearings and work sessions throughout the month. Our legislative team has been meeting weekly to track bills, write testimony, and advocate for our priorities. Some highlights last month include:
Throughout the short session, the legislative team will continue to meet to ensure just and sustainable outcomes from the state legislature. We always welcome new volunteers—if you are interested in getting involved, please contact email@example.com or register for our upcoming volunteer orientation on February 14 at 12pm.
- Sierra Club Maine is a member of the Environmental Priorities Coalition, which held its priority summit on January 18th. You can learn more about the coalition’s priority bills for this session here!
- LD 2077, the ‘Future of Gas’ bill, had a public hearing on January 23rd. Sierra Club testified in support, and is continuing to advocate for a strong outcome. Interested in getting involved? Use this guide to send a letter to your legislator!
- Sierra Club testified in support of the Wabanaki Studies bill, LD 1642. This bill aims to strengthen the Wabanaki Studies Law, landmark legislation passed in 2001 that requires Maine schools to teach K-12 students about Wabanaki history, culture and economic and government systems, as well as the Wabanaki Nations’ relationships with other governments. Learn more about the bill here.
- And much more!
Artwork by David von Seggern
Casualties of the Green Revolution
By David von Seggern
|The headline in ClimateWire (12/13/2023) caught my attention immediately. It read: “The green energy revolution's first casualties: Sweden's reindeer herders.” Wait—can they really be the first? Not hardly, and I will elaborate on that later.
Since the start of the Holocene Epoch about 12,000 years ago, humankind has been thirsting for energy sources. It began somewhat benignly with the cutting of trees for cooking fires and space heating, for smelting minerals, and for drying crops and foods. A significant increase in energy use began in the Industrial Age when whales were nearly hunted to extinction for their lamp oil and coal mines were dug throughout Europe and North America to feed steelmaking, run railroads, and heat cities. Humankind’s lust for energy has led us to greatly alter a significant portion of the Earth’s surface (and underground in the case of mining) with many effects going beyond geomorphic changes. Through the capture and use of fossil energy, humankind has altered not just the land but also the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the biosphere.
Let’s start with the fossil-fuel revolution because energy use was relatively insignificant prior to a rise in the use of coal around 1800. Before then, the average human may have multiplied their energy potential by a factor of two or three through, for example, the use of domesticated animals, primitive solar heating, and wind resources. Continue reading here.
Redefining Conservation Podcast Recap
Sierra Club Maine's first podcast series, ‘Redefining Conservation’ was a big success!
We appreciate the hundreds of listeners as we began exploring the intersections between conservation and other forms of social justice such as pollution, water quality issues, ownership, and access. The goal was to amplify the voices of folks who are critical in co-creating our state’s vision to preserve 30% of lands by 2030 and beyond.
We hope it was thought provoking, and that you were challenged! If you haven’t caught up, listen here
.Some of our most popular episodes were related to community land trusts, the future of farmland protection, and land back/access.
Our team had a great time learning how to use the sound board and recording studio at WMPG in Portland. The WMPG staff were thoughtful and helpful as we underwent a crash-course in audio production. Anna Siegel, a Conservation Team volunteer who helped with preparing some episodes, writes, “My favorite experience in the process was moderating the conversation with Dr. John Hagan and Eliza Townsend
. The three of them got to talk about (correction: nerd out about) birds, forestry, and ecology.”
Philip Mathieu, our 30x30 Team Co-Lead and editor of the podcast, added, “I love how this podcast started as an idea for a purely educational program and naturally evolved into an opportunity to build relationships. Our work led to an invitation to participate in the Natural and Working Lands Conservation Subgroup on the Maine Climate Council, but more importantly, started a dialogue with groups like Presente! Maine
that haven't traditionally been a part of conversations about conservation.” Continue reading here.
Become Superbly Sustainable
With Sustainable Practice
|Interested in meeting your own needs in ways that allow future generations to meet theirs? Fred Horch and Peggy Siegle of Sustainable Practice can help you do just that! Catering to an audience of passionate environmental and sustainability advocates, Sustainable Practice teaches best practices, provides advice for effective action, and evaluates the sustainability of households, events, and organizations. They do so through comprehensive, science-based guides, seminars, and trainings. They also offer advising, evaluate sustainability practices and measure results, both on-site and remote.
You can learn more about Sustainable Practice here, and subscribe to their Substack for weekly action guides.
Photo by Sergei Tokmakov
Green Tip of the Month:
Reducing Microplastic Pollution
- Plastics are synthetic polymers (very large molecules that are multiples of simpler chemical units) that can be molded, extruded, cast into shapes, pressed into films, or drawn into filaments.
- Microplastics are little bits of plastic less than five thousand microns (one-fifth of an inch) in diameter or small plastic fibers less than 15,000 microns (µm) long with a length-to-diameter ratio of 100 to 1 or more. (By comparison, human hair ranges in diameter from 17 to 181 microns, with an average of 50 microns.)
- Continue reading here
Photo by Becky Bartovics
The Month Ahead
Here are some of the meetings and events we have coming up. We hope to see you soon!
- February 5 at 7pm: Ecological Impact of Livestock Grazing on Public Lands
- George Wuerthner is an ecologist and long-time grazing activist. He has published 38 books, many of which address environmental issues, including "Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West". George has been a member of the Sierra Club for 35 years, and currently serves on the Sierra Club's national Grazing Committee. George will discuss the ecological impact of livestock grazing on public lands, as well as the economic costs. Livestock grazing is the most common commercial use of this country's public lands, causing significant damage to ecosystems, especially watersheds. It also leads to severe consequences for native species, both flora and fauna.
- Events Team Meetings
- Help us organize events to educate and engage Mainers across the state.
- February 20 at 12pm: Clean Energy Team Meeting
- Join our team and ensure a clean and just energy future for Maine, specifically focused on renewable energy development!
Volunteer With Sierra Club Maine
Interested in helping to protect Maine’s environment? We invite you to join us at our volunteer orientation February 14th at noon - RSVP here!
No matter your background, we have a role for you—no experience necessary.We are always looks for photos from across the state to feature in our marketing materials.
Professionals and amateurs alike are encouraged to submit images of Maine landscapes, nature, and wildlife. Please submit your photo here.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org