Many people may want to stick their head in the sand when they hear about climate change.

A recent symposium to address how we can adapt to climate disruption (“KVCC forum focuses on climate change”) provided hope for the future.

Our state has resources that can help in making the transition into a new economy and new environment. Our post-secondary schools can guide the way. Maine helps to lead the nation in colleges offering programs in sustainability science.

The final remarks of the conference were given by Unity College president Stephen Mulkey, who explained how we need students who can come out of higher education ready to solve these climate problems.

Unity College is training such sustainability practitioners.

Dana Doran of Kennebec Valley Community College offered tours of the school’s Energy Lab. The school’s degree in Energy Services trains technicians who can install traditional plumbing, heating and ventilation, as well as all of the renewables.

Our University of Maine System has the Climate Change Institute as well as Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative. Southern Maine Community College has the Sustainability Center, which offers classes in energy auditing, renewable energy resources, and environmental studies. University of New England has the Center for Sustainable Communities. Colby College was one of the first colleges in the nation to achieve carbon neutrality. The list goes on.

All of these programs reflect a commitment to inspire the next generation to help solve these challenges.

Herein lies an opportunity to grow sustainability science as an industry to fuel the state’s economy. Rather than pull the covers over our head, let us embrace this as an economic opportunity, and turn Maine into the Silicon Valley of Sustainability.

Margot Burns Gyorgy, directorSustain Waynewww.sustainwayne.org