Community Conversations

We invite you to join us for Community Conversations—discussions and presentations via Zoom! 

These events were developed as a means of physically distancing while socially engaging during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have been a vital resource for members and friends to engage on important issues in the comfort of their own homes. Join our conversations with those in the know as we continue doing the important work of helping our communities, protecting our natural environment, and working for a just, clean-energy future.

These conversations will be recorded for those unable to attend on the specific dates indicated. All are welcome to submit questions for the speakers at

Upcoming Talks

Stay tuned for upcoming conversations!

Past Talks


Tuesday, November 14th, 2023, 6-7PM

Veterans for Peace

Veterans For Peace Climate Crisis and Militarism Project is part of the world-wide movement to end the climate crisis and promote climate, environmental, racial, and economic justice. Learn how US militarism, the single largest institutional source of greenhouse gasses on the planet, fuels the climate crisis. Gary Butterfield serves on the steering committee of the Climate Crisis & Militarism Project and is also a member of San Diego He is keenly interested in the effects of militarism on the climate crisis. 


Tuesday, March 8th, 2023, 1-2PM

Do We Have The Tools To Abandon Fossil Fuels?

Did you know that two of Maine's largest oil companies are having solar + electric vehicle chargers installed at their gas stations because they think fossil fuels are ultimately doomed? The transition to clean energy is happening faster than most people realize, from solar-powered steel plants to electrification of local heavy construction companies like Shaw Brothers Construction. Electric snowmobiles, tractors, buses, ferries, cruise ships and planes now make it possible to go zero emissions across a wide range of previously polluting activities. Plus, solar electricity has become the cheapest form of energy over the past decade, positioning humanity to rapidly accelerate the transition to the better future we know is possible for ourselves and generations to come. Watch here.


Tuesday, December 7th, 2021, 12-1PM

Wrong for Maine, Wrong for Cobscook Bay: The dangerous downsides of large-scale polymetallic sulfide mining

Acid mining is a serious threat to water quality in an area that not only provides clean water to Cobscook Bay but is also a potential source of water to Sipayik, Passamaquoddy Reservation located in what is known now as Pleasant Point. The current water source is badly polluted. Acid mining is likely to destroy another source for the Passamoquoddy and other communities living in the same aquifer. Hear about this from those who have studied it and live there. Watch here.


Tuesday, November 16th, 2021, 12-1PM

Envision a Sustainable Society: A Chat With the Author of Bright Green Future

What does a fully sustainable future actually look like? The book Bright Green Future offers a glimpse into that world through the inspiring stories of innovators and activists who are building it right now. Join author Trevor Decker Cohen in a discussion on the types of thinking that can help us envision and then create a regenerative, resilient, and just future in the places we love. Watch here.


Tuesday, November 9th, 2021, 12-1PM

Sustainable Food, By Default

Our current food system will take us past 1.5 degrees of warming by 2050, while also driving water shortages, deforestation, and species extinction. Addressing this issue can seem daunting, especially because food is such a sensitive subject. This presentation with Katie Cantrell, Director of Corporate Outreach for the Better Food Foundation and founder of the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition, explores why food is actually one of the most hopeful areas of climate action. We focused on solutions informed by behavioral economics - strategies to nudge both individuals and institutions towards more sustainable choices, without taking options completely off the menu. Watch here.


Tuesday, October 19th, 2021, 12-1PM

From the Bottom Up: A Community-Based Approach to Oyster Reef Restoration

A cross-sector collaboration is working together to understand the ecological and community benefits of oyster reef restoration in Phippsburg, ME. Oyster reefs have been known to protect shorelines from storm surge and erosion, improve water quality and provide habitat, but efforts to build reefs in Maine have been limited to date. The project builds on an initial, two-year effort by The Nature Conservancy and is being continued by the Phippsburg Conservation and Shellfish Commissions, the Maine Oyster Company, Bates College, Manomet and local community members. Learn about oyster restoration and the collaborative, community-based approach to addressing rapid environmental change in coastal Maine. Watch here.


Tuesday, October 12th, 2021, 12-1PM

Wild Seed Project - Rewild in 10 Action Steps

Entomologist Douglas Tallamy identifies a minimum of 70% native plant biomass in our landscapes needed to safeguard wildlife habitat, support biodiversity, and mitigate the effects of climate change. Wild Seed Project recently launched an initiative that motivates people to meet this threshold through a holistic approach it is called rewilding and anyone can do it whether you have farmland, a yard in the suburbs, a hell strip in an urban neighborhood, or no land of your own. Anna Fialkoff walks us through what it means to rewild in 10 action steps. Watch here.


Tuesday, October 5th, 2021, 12-1PM

The National Popular Vote, Explained

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact guarantees the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Our guest speaker, Margo Donnis, explains what the National Popular Vote is, and how it can be put into effect without changing the US Constitution. There will be a question and answer period following the presentation. Watch here.


Tuesday, May 25th, 2021, 12-1PM

Heat Pumps for Old Homes

David Gibson shares examples of Maine homes that have transitioned from oil heat to air source heat pumps. This community conversation looks at what works best in an old farmhouse, and other efficiency measures that can help attain the most comfort for the lowest energy use. David has transitioned his home, a post and beam farmhouse built in 1828, entirely off of fossil fuels, and designed heat pump systems for hundreds of other households in Maine. He is a certified energy manager and LEED Accredited Professional for Building Design and Construction. He is joining College of the Atlantic as their new Director of Energy starting in August. Watch here.


Tuesday, May 18th, 2021, 12-1PM

Hidden Hiking Gems in Maine with Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn Sarnacki, author of three Maine hiking guidebooks and outdoors columnist for the Bangor Daily News, shares some of the amazing lesser-known trails that she's discovered during the past decade of documenting hikes in Maine. She also offers some tips for finding trails in your area, and share a few of the conclusions she's made while exploring the wilderness statewide. Watch here.


Tuesday, May 11th, 2021, 12-1PM

Nickie Sekera of Community Water Justice

Nickie Sekera of Community Water Justice discussed the concerns with the recent acquisition of Nestle Waters North American and the Poland Spring brand by One Rock Capital Partners and Metropoulus & Co. She addressed its implications for our groundwater in Maine, Nestle's infiltration into our state house, and the hurdles to modernizing our legal infrastructure to protect our water sources. Watch here.


Tuesday, May 4th, 2021, 12-1PM

Science Communication Through Art

Jill Pelto is an artist and science communicator based in Westbrook, Maine. Jill's artwork incorporates scientific research and data into watercolor paintings to communicate human-environment connections. She's conducted field research around the world, including the mountain glaciers of Washington and Antarctica. She recently created a custom data-art painting for the cover of TIME Magazine in July 2020. See Jill's work at Watch here.


Tuesday, April 6th, 2021, 12-1PM

Industrial Aquaculture in Maine

This community conversation analyzed current industrial aquaculture projects in Maine and their potential future. Specifically, we looked at both land-based and water-based finfish operations proposed in Maine and discussed their impacts on our climate and environment. Watch here.


Tuesday, March 9th, 2021, 12-1PM

Offshore Wind with New England Aqua Ventus

Chris Wissemann of New England Aqua Ventus provides an overview of floating offshore wind technology, and its development and application in Maine. Watch here.


Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021, 12-1PM

A Climate to Thrive

A Climate to Thrive is a non-profit that helped Mount Desert Island High School meet 100% of their electrical needs with solar. They share and discuss this exciting project and their step-by-step process of how to get your school to go 100% solar, too. Watch here.


Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021, 12-1PM

Consumer Owned Utility with John Brautigam

Former State Representative and Assistant Attorney General John Brautigam explains why Maine must make the transition to a Consumer Owned Utility to achieve ambitious climate goals. Watch here.


Tuesday, February 9th, 2021, 12-1PM

Poems for a World on Fire with Helen Rousseau

Published author, artist, and creative leader Helen Rousseau joins us to discuss her most recent publication, "Poems for a World on Fire." Watch here.


Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021, 12-1PM

Maine Clean Energy Accelerator

David Gibson, Sierra Club Maine Executive Committee member and solar design specialist with ReVision Energy, will speak about the movement to organize a Maine Clean Energy Accelerator (Green Bank). Watch here.


Tuesday, January 12th, 2021, 12-1PM

Permaculture with Kate Wallace

Come learn about the importance of regenerative agriculture. Kate Wallace from Resilience Hub will discuss the "how" and the "why" of permaculture, which is a design system for creating edible ecosystems, regenerating land, and building healthy habitats for all beings.


Tuesday, December 8th, 2020, 12-1PM

Post Election Reflection with the ACLU of Maine

Alison Beyea, Executive Director of the ACLU of Maine gives her reflections on the recent election and how it will impact civil rights. Watch here.


Tuesday, October 27th, 2020, 7-8:30PM

The Deals Made, The Money involved and the Lack of Transparency in Pursuit of Big Hydro, with speakers:

  • Meg Sheehan, Coordinator of NAMRA and NECEC Corridor
  • Mark Kresowik,  Eastern Region Deputy Director Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign
  • Kevin Cassidy, Senior Staff Attorney, Lewis and Clark Law School, Earthrise Law Center 

Watch here.


Tuesday, October 13th, 2020, 7-8PM

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

Noel Musson and Terry DeWan will present on the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. They will provide background on the monument, the planning process, how they engaged with the community including public meetings and tribes, developing the management framework including desired resource conditional and visitor experiences, and what's next. Watch here.


Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020, 7-8:30PM

Impacts of Canadian hydropower on Indigenous communities in Canada and on Maine’s environment, with speakers:

  • Meg Sheehan, Coordinator of NAMRA and NECEC Corridor Moderator
  • Amy Norman, Nunatsiavummiuk of Nunatsiavut an Inuit community in Labrador
  • Jeff Reardon, Maine Chapter Trout Unlimited.  
  • Steve Brooke, Retired State employee, a Registered Maine Guide an Coordinator of the Kennebec Coalition


Wednesday, July 29th, 2020, 7-8:30PM

NAMRA and Sierra Club Maine Chapter are pleased to announce the third webinar on the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) and why it is a bad deal for New York. The first two webinars were a great success! Join us as we wrap up the series on why importing more electricity from megadams in Canada is a bad idea for the climate and frontline communities and will not deliver on jobs. alk in coordination with North American Megadam Resistance Alliance’s (NAMRA).  Expert speakers expose environmental and cultural destruction of megadams. More details to come. Watch HERE.

Meg Sheehan, Coordinator, North American Megadam Resistance Alliance: Overview of Blackstone Group's plan to bury a high voltage direct current cable under New York's land and waterways
Eric Johansson, Professor of Marine Transportation, SUNY Maritime: Environmental and navigational impacts of burying high voltage direct current cables under rivers
Will Nicholls, Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of the Nation Magazine, the only independent Indigenous news source serving the Cree of James Bay for over 25 years. "The land made us who we are." 


Tuesday, July 14th, 2020 at 7PM

State Senator Shenna Bellows (D – Kennebec) led our critical July 14th Zoom conversation on Maine’s future.  Can we achieve sustainability in these times of pandemic, recession and rising awareness of systemic injustices?  Sen. Bellows is uniquely qualified to guide this crucial conversation: she is a former lobbyist for the Sierra Club, a former Executive Director of the American Civil Liberty Union of Maine, and an economic consultant.  Currently, she is the Chair of the Labor and Housing Committee of the State Legislature, which is dealing with employment issues related to COVID-19, including worker safety.  Sen. Bellows also chairs the Conduct and Ethics Committee of the State Senate.  She serves as Executive Director of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine as well. See video here.


Tuesday, June 30th, 2020 at 7PM

Morgan Ellis, Associate Director of Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation For All Campaign, and Mike Williams, Deputy Director of the Blue Green Alliance who sits on the Maine Climate Council’s Transportation working group, discussed the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI).
The developing Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is a collaboration between Washington D.C. and 12 Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from transportation and accelerate clean, modern and multimodal forms of transportation. You can view the video here. This video is also available on our Facebook page.


Tuesday, June 16th, 2020 at 7PM

Representative Chloe Maxim, will discuss the implementation of Maine’s Green New Deal act passed in 2019 which focuses on green energy workforce development. She will review the impetus being given to amend Maine’s constitution to include an environmental bill of rights.

This video is available HERE or on our Facebook page.

Speaker Bio:

Rep. Chloe Maxmin is serving her first term in the Maine House of Representatives. Maxmin grew up on her family's farm in Nobleboro and has been a community organizer for more than thirteen years. She has worked on numerous political campaigns and initiatives, focusing on combating climate change and protecting Maine’s environment. She is a graduate of Lincoln Academy, where she started the Climate Action Club. She attended Harvard College and co-founded Divest Harvard, a campaign calling on Harvard University to divest from fossil fuels that ultimately drew 70,000 supporters. Her work has been recognized by the Maine Women's Fund, Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Real Time with Bill Maher, CNN, MPBN and more. Notably, she introduced a Green New Deal for Maine, LD 1282, which passed in 2019.


Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020 at 7PM  

James Wilson, President of Isle au Haut Power Company, Steven Strong, President of Solar Design, and Kay Aiken, CEO of the software company Introspective Systems, share their experiences from Ise au Haut. They will discuss their development in a solar + storage / generator hybrid micro-grid system, designed to replace the aging underwater cable supplying Isle au Haut with energy. This microgrid electricity system powered by a large field of solar power and stored with super-capacitor batteries is modeled after a similar system designed by Solar Design on the island of Cuttyhunk - the westernmost of the Elizabeth island chain off Martha’s Vineyard, MA. The Isle au Haut project, like Cuttyhunk, can be a model for other Maine islands along with other application. Learn more on Tuesday!

This video is available HERE or on our Facebook page.

James Wilson, President of Isle au Haut Power Company, probably better known by students, fishermen, and lobstermen in his role as University of Maine professor of Marine Science and Economics, focusing on fisheries ecology and resource economics. Now retired, Jim and local islanders have worked together to solve a critical energy supply problem and secure financing for it. 

Steven Strong, President of Solar Design, is acknowledged as a pre-eminent authority on integration of renewable energy systems in buildings. Drawing on his background in architecture and engineering, he has pioneered the concept of integrated design with applications such as solar electricity (photovoltaics), solar thermal and wind energy. Steven has designed dozens of homes and buildings powered by solar electricity - from the Outermost House to the White House. His work is notable for a long series of firsts. Among them are the first solar powered US embassy, major league stadium, Olympic stadium, and first wind powered college campus.

Kay Aikin holds a degree in energy/sustainability engineering and has spent her career as an energy engineer, architectural designer, and business development executive. She has helped the island project using her knowledge of the application of complex system design in relation to a variety of problems focused on the integration of Distributed Energy Resources into the electrical grid.


Tuesday, May 19th, 2020 at 7PM 

Meg Sheehan, Coordinator of the North American Megadam Resistance Alliance (NAMRA) will dispel the myth that hydro power is “Clean and Green” and megadams and their transmission corridors have direct and irreversible impacts on our rivers and forests and contribute to the ongoing cultural genocide of Indigenous communities in Canada to supply Massachusetts' with  1,200 megawatts of hydropower from Eastern Canada. Sandra Howard, Director, Say NO to NECEC will speak about the CMP transmission corridor's direct and irreversible impacts on Maine's environment, wildlife habitat, wetlands and waterways, recreational tourism and biomass industry. In addition, this project will not reduce global CO2 emissions. Watch video here.


Tuesday May 5th, 2020 at 7PM 

David Gibson, Sierra Club Maine Executive Committee and Energy Team member, ReVision Energy staff, will speak about the movement to organize a Maine Green Bank siting that the biggest barrier to the implementation of clean energy projects and other climate solutions is the upfront cost. The Maine Green Bank will invest public funds into these projects, with the focus to leverage private capital to significantly increase funding for these critical projects. Watch Video Here.


Tuesday April 21st, 2020 at 7PM 

Representative Seth Berry, Chair, Energy, Utilities & Technology Committee of Maine Legislature will update and review legislative action related to climate change and the Energy Working Group of the Maine Climate Council and speak to issues related to the creation of the Maine Public Power Delivery Authority as a consumer-owned utility. Watch Video Here.