Ever the classic Colby College student, I love the outdoors. And with such easy access to one of the most beautiful national parks, spending time in Acadia is a guarantee. From hiking, biking, kayaking, learning to set up a tent, and waking up to see the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain with both family and college friends, Acadia is full of great memories for me.

However, I worry that future experiences like these may be fleeting if we do not take serious action to address climate change by putting a price on carbon.

As a massive national park that spans a large expanse of Maine’s rocky coast, it’s no wonder that Acadia is subject to climate exposure. Our pristine coastlines and adjacent roadways are in danger of being overrun by rising sea levels, and the park’s plants and animals are already living within a zone of transition. A continuation of the status quo would drive out much of the ecological diversity of the park, as well as take a serious toll on tourism. Unequivocally, more must be done to protect Acadia.

Such action should take the form of carbon dividends, the leading version of which is the bipartisan Baker-Shultz plan. This framework, endorsed by hundreds of student government leaders around the country who range across the entire political spectrum, stands as proof that meaningful environmental policy and fiscal accountability are not mutually exclusive.

Fiscally, pricing carbon and giving the funds back to the American people makes the plan completely revenue neutral. Environmentally, the plan would cut our country’s carbon emissions by an estimated 57% by 2035, a rate that outpaces that of the Paris Agreement.

Without environmental action, future generations will not be able to enjoy the same Acadia that I love, and therefore, implementing carbon dividends should be a priority.

 

Caitlin Bracken

Waterville

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