Students from Juniper Hill School in Alna join protesters in Brunswick to demand action on climate change. Hannah LaClaire / The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — Aura Jones, 9,  wants a future, but worries that without immediate action on climate change, that won’t happen. 

“I believe in climate change,” she said. “I don’t want our Earth to die.” 

Jones, a student at Juniper Hill School in Alna, accompanied her classmates to Brunswick’s latest Climate Action Strike on Friday after learning about Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg. 

“I love the Earth and the animals and the plants,” 8-year-old Skyler Brazwell said. “I want to help it.” 

Lilly Lee, 9, agreed, adding that “everything is getting warmer,” which she said is “really bad.” 

The Juniper Hill students joined Bowdoin College students and Brunswick community members to demand action on what protesters are calling a “climate crisis.” 

The movement, inspired by Thunberg, calls for students to strike on Fridays. 

“School children are required to attend school,” according to the Fridays For Future movement, “but with the worsening climate destruction, this goal of going to school begins to be pointless. Why study for a future which may not be there?” 

In September, 7.6 million people took to the streets to strike for climate action, according to Fridays For Future, resulting in “the biggest climate mobilization in history.” 

Bowdoin College students Perrin Milliken (left) and Ayana Harscoet lead protesters in a song on the mall Friday. Hannah LaClaire / The Times Record

Dec. 2 marked the start of a two-week international climate conference in Madrid, as delegates from 200 countries put the finishing touches on the rules governing the 2015 Paris climate accord, the Associated Press reported. 

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters that the threat of global warming is no longer over the horizon, but is “in sight and hurtling toward us.” 

The same night, Brunswick town officials joined Portland, South Portland and Bar Harbor in adopting a climate resolution, declaring a climate emergency and pledging to help “safeguard against the current and potential consequences of climate change, including adopting specific policy goals and funding accomplishment of those goals.”

“(Climate change) is not something that’s going to happen in the future, it’s happening now,” Bowdoin student Perrin Milliken told the council. 

By signing the resolution, councilors also urge “all governments and people to initiate social and economic mobilization to reverse global warming,” citing the destructive and increasing wildfires, floods, rising seas, droughts and extreme weather.

Agriculture and forestry account for roughly 9% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the USDA Economic Research Center. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that number jumps to 24% on a global scale. 

John Newlin, a founder of Growing to Give, a local farm-based program dedicated to reducing food insecurity through climate-friendly farming, said that with the right practices, agriculture could not simply become a “smaller part of the problem,” but a “part of the solution.” 

He encouraged those gathered to shop and eat locally, but more importantly, to “use your voice and vote.” 

He held a 1975 science textbook, which addressed the greenhouse gas effect and some of the concerns. 

“We should have paid closer attention,” he said, claiming not just years, “but decades of inadequate attention.”

“It’s an emergency now,” he said.

“We’re seeing climate change in front of us,” Dylan Voorhees, climate and clean energy director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine told the crowd. 

The Gulf of Maine is one of the fastest-warming bodies of water in the world.

Recent studies suggest that lobster populations could shift 200 miles north as a result of climate change and that the soft-shell clam industry could collapse due to green crabs, which are thriving in the warmer waters. 

The Portland Press Herald reported last year that cod, northern shrimp and other species are experiencing long-term declines while other species like black sea bass and squid are moving to New England waters that were previously too cold for them. 

A new climate bill, which Gov. Janet Mills signed into law in June, requires Maine to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 45% below 1990 levels by 2030 and by at least 80% by 2050. Then, In September, Mills issued an executive order pledging that Maine’s economy will be carbon-neutral by 2045, according to the Portland Press Herald, a goal shared by Boston, New York, Hawaii, Sweden, France and Costa Rica. 

These and other climate-friendly goals are “not only reasonable, but attainable,” Sen. Chellie Pingree wrote in a statement read by a staff member. “We must not lose momentum.” 

“It’s not just about rallies and marches and strikes,” Voorhees said. It takes hard work to affect change, and “above all, you must vote,” he said, and then continue to hold representatives accountable. 

“The hard part is ahead of us, but our voices are being heard,” he said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.