Why is it so hard for so many of us Americans to make the connection that when we hurt the environment we are hurting ourselves? We are as deeply dependent on the Earth and its resources as are the Pacific walrus, Bicknell’s thrush and some two dozen other endangered animal species that the Trump administration declined to protect last year. I cannot understand why protecting the environment so often falls victim to politics. “Conservative” is the same root, practically the same word, as “conservation.” Preservation, too, feels like a conservative value to me. And yet…

Since we can’t count on the federal government to fix things any time soon, we all need to step up. The phrase “think globally, act locally,” has never felt more important to me. I’d add think locally and act locally, too. Just act to help this imperiled globe, period.

Under the circumstances, I am especially pleased this year to announce the call for nominations for our fourth annual Source Awards, which open today, Sunday, Jan. 14. Our awards recognize the individuals, nonprofits, businesses and institutions that are acting right here in Maine to safeguard this state’s spectacular natural environment. Every time we walk a trail, savor a luscious local pear or buttery pan-fried hake fillet, pay less for energy thanks to solar panels, put a bucket of slops for compost out on the curb, ride the Metro bus rather than driving alone in our car – and much, much more – we can thank a Mainer, Maine policymaker or organization for helping us live in closer harmony with the Earth.

Thank them in a more concrete way by nominating them for a Source Award. The awards are open to all Maine individuals, groups, businesses and nonprofits doing good work in sustainability. We are looking for people of all sorts: students, teachers, conservationists, farmers, scientists, volunteers, activists, solar panel installers, chefs, naval architects, car mechanics and hotel operators – anyone who is having a positive impact on the environment in Maine. We seek a range of businesses and nonprofits, too, from venerable organizations with established records to relative newcomers with groundbreaking ideas.

Nominations – find them here: pressherald.com/SOURCEawards – are due end of day Feb. 12 (though gold, or perhaps green, stars for early submissions!). Winners will be announced March 18 and will be honored at an awards banquet on April 4.

You probably won’t get rich working to preserve the environment. At Source, the least we can do is shower you with well-deserved praise.

PEGGY GRODINSKY

Source Editor

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