There’s a concept known as the “butterfly effect,” to which our dictionary defines as a “minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere.” For example, a tornado can have its course altered by the flapping of a butterfly’s wings weeks earlier and half a world a way.

If one tweaks the definition, one can see how just maybe the actions of small municipal governing boards could effect change hundreds of miles away in Washington.

The Brunswick Town Council on Monday will be asked to sign a resolution brought by the Recycling & Sustainability Committee, urging Congress to adopt a carbon fee and dividend that seeks to mitigate the impact of climate change.

The fee would be levied on fossil fuels and greenhouse gases at the point where they first enter the economy. All monies would be returned to households as a dividend. The theory being that, the cost of the fee will be passed on to consumers by corporations, which would, in turn, be offset by the dividend.

As to the validity of climate change: You either choose reason and believe the science, or you don’t. At this point in the game, there is little more to say to those who believe humans have not impacted Earth’s climate.

In the Midcoast, you don’t need to look far to see the impact that climate change has had on the Gulf of Maine, a body of water whose rise in temperature is among the fastest in the world. Recently, an article in the Portland Press Herald cited a study projecting that “Maine’s soft-shell clam industry could collapse” due to the invasive green crab, which thrives in warming waters.


Meanwhile, species that our economy relies on, such as lobster, are migrating northward to cooler waters.

Citizens Climate Lobby— which has chapters throughout the nation including Bath-Brunswick — has worked for years now to the proposed fee a reality. Without a doubt, it’s an uphill battle. With a fiercely divided Congress and Scott Pruitt turning the now ironically named Environmental Protection Agency into an environmentalist’s bane, one can only wonder.

So what’s the point in having the Brunswick council approve this measure?

Maybe the point is, lawmakers need to be more serious about combatting climate change. That’s a message the council can get across with this resolution.

The fee has been endorsed by local governing boards in Maine and throughout the nation. To the Brunswick Town Council: Start flapping your wings.