What is one small thing Mainers can do in their everyday lives to help combat climate change? We asked our panelists that question. They overwhelmed us with good ideas, small and large. Try some. Or all. An edited list follows.

1. Put the names, phone numbers and email addresses of your newly elected state senator and representative on your refrigerator. Call or email this week to say hello or congratulations without asking for anything — that will make it 10 times easier to contact them on climate and clean energy issues in the coming months. – Dylan Voorhees, Natural Resources Council of Maine

2. Be a joiner. The most important single step you can take is to volunteer for and support grassroots organizations. – Glen Brand, Sierra Club Maine

3. Support environmental education in the schools and at the state level. Call your local principals and superintendents to let them know that learning about the environment is as fundamental to public schooling as math and reading. – Drew Dumsch, The Ecology School

4. Seek out and buy locally grown organic food. It’s grown in harmony with natural systems that preserve biodiversity and reduce human impacts on the environment. – Ted Quaday, MOFGA

5. Eat less meat. Eating meat generates 2 1/2 times more greenhouse gases than eating vegetables. – Cathy Ramsdell, Friends of Casco Bay


6. Stop using fertilizers, which can wash into the ocean where they can trigger algae blooms, leading to increased acidity in coastal waters.– Cathy Ramsdell, Friends of Casco Bay

7. Plant native plants, which make great habitat for Maine creatures. They also hold carbon, so it’s a two-for-one deal. – Ole Amundsen III, Maine Audubon

8. Drive less!– Cathy Ramsdell, Friends of Casco Bay

9. Unplug when possible. Don’t let the water faucet run. Bike or walk to work if possible. Use a lunch box and a reusable water bottle. – Andrew LaVogue, Environment Maine

10. Heat with Maine-grown wood pellets. – Kate Dempsey, The Nature Conservancy Maine

11. Take advantage of Efficiency Maine’s incentives to make your home more energy efficient. – Kate Dempsey, The Nature Conservancy Maine

12: Read your electric and heat bills to learn where your energy comes from. Change your provider if it’s hurting communities anywhere. – Rob Snyder, Island Institute

13. Vacation in the Maine woods. Visit the new national monument, or rent a hunting or fishing camp. Help our rural economies grow in a sustainable fashion and appreciate the great resources that our forests and rivers provide. – Ole Amundsen III, Maine Audubon

14. Talk with someone you know who doesn’t share your views on climate change. Listen. Help them understand how a changing climate affects their everyday lives. Be patient but keep at it. Ole Amundsen III, Maine Audubon

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