It was refreshing to read that 31 folks, including about a dozen high school students, recently testified in Augusta at a Department of Environmental Protection hearing. They were asking for much tougher greenhouse-gas emissions standards in the coming years here in Maine.

We are too jaded these days, too numbed by dysfunction, too timid to take the long view and tackle difficult issues like climate change. The sad results stare us in the face every day if we just read the newspaper.

Cartoonist Walt Kelly’s 1970 Earth Day poster offered the reminder that “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Long before the 1970s, we knew about the warming headed our way and did little about it. But never mind the past, and for goodness’ sake, don’t blame others. We all share responsibility for the world we are making.

Yes, it will be difficult to reduce emissions, but not as difficult as dealing with rising sea levels, extreme weather events, sharp increases in vector-borne diseases like Lyme and warming waters, which cause the lobsters to pack up and leave. The list is too long and too discouraging to extend.

But people like those taking a reasoned argument to Augusta are good models for the rest of us, as are the Citizens Climate Lobby folks headed to Washington this June to advocate for a bipartisan-based “carbon fee and dividend” policy. Let’s do what we can to prevent some of the damage headed our way.

Sam Saltonstall


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