The Nature Conservancy: How to find hope in the climate crisis

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Maine just experienced its driest summer, hottest June, and highest average daily ocean temperatures in its history. “These are signs that climate change is here, and we need to act now so it doesn’t get worse,” said Kate Dempsey, state director of The Nature Conservancy. Dempsey is optimistic in light of the work being done across the state to reduce harmful emissions, adapt to rising seas and temperatures, and help the next generation build a more sustainable future. “This problem is too complex for one person or one group to tackle,” she says. “We are fortunate to have so many groups in Maine collaborating to bring about meaningful change.” Here, Dempsey highlights some of the initiatives supported by TNC Maine that give him reason for hope.


Reduce carbon.

Last September, Mount Desert Island High School rolled out the state’s first electric school bus with help from a regional nonprofit called A Climate to Thrive. We really want to help show that Maine can continue to be a leader in the fight against climate change. TNC Maine is funding an evaluation of the project so that more schools and potential supporters can see the value in an initiative like this. The transportation sector generates over 50% of Maine’s carbon emissions – just think of the potential if every school switched to electric buses.

Let the rivers flow freely.

In Aroostook County, the Houlton Maliseet Band repaired a stream through Moose Brook, restoring miles of stream habitat for brook trout and other native fish. TNC Maine financially supported the project and helped build relationships with state and federal agencies to move it forward. As climate change threatens the survival of marine fish like Atlantic salmon, projects like these are especially important because they reconnect waterways for fish and help keep water temperatures cool enough to they can spawn.

Empower the next generation.

Around the world, teens and young adults are leading climate action and demanding environmental responsibility. We want to increase the number of Maine youth who get involved and ensure the movement represents the diversity of the community. To support this, TNC Maine has partnered with the Maine Environmental Education Association (MEEA) to create two full-time residencies that give young people from underrepresented backgrounds the opportunity to gain hands-on professional experience with MEEA. and TNC. It was exciting to meet these young people who are leading the call for change. I can’t help but wonder if the next Rachel Carson is among them.


14 Maine Street, Ste. 401, Brunswick, ME 04011. 207-729-5181. [email protected].

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