On March 12, Maine citizens of all ages gathered at the Climate Solutions Expo and Summit in Augusta to share information and ideas about climate change mitigation and adaptation. Attending the expo were busloads of students, many learning for the first time how climate change might affect their lives.

I overheard some talking about how they will never see icicles the same way now that they know icicles on a roof mean it lacks insulation. Another student, who seemed skeptical at first of our group’s efforts to pass a carbon tax, was encouraged after I told him about the movements towardsthis solution both in the Legislature and the business world.

Other attendees ranged from grandparents hoping to leave a stable and beautiful planet for their grandchildren to my big-eyed, babbling daughter, a poignant reminder of why we are all working toward solutions to this crisis.

Climate change is an urgent issue that must be dealt with now. Even though the scientific evidence may seem too abstract to some or too discouraging to others, by working together and taking a critical look at how we live, we can create stronger communities, live sustainably and protect the most vulnerable among us.

At the federal level, we need to make sure our legislators are aware that we support major legislation, such as a carbon tax, to reduce greenhouse emissions and turn our economy toward more sustainable energy. At a personal level, we can pay attention to our own lifestyles and habits and encourage our communities to use resources wisely.

As the ground thaws and the sap runs after a long winter, let us also rise to the challenge set before us.

Caroline KarnesHallowell

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