The recent report about climate change was deeply upsetting, and I understand that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless. But I invite you to take a different approach and view it as an opportunity.

This is the perfect moment to reflect on what you value. Living here in Maine, odds are you value our environment. Maybe you enjoy spending your time in the solitude of the woods, to hunt or go for a quiet walk. Perhaps you find renewal and delight in our sparkling waters, to swim or fish or paddle. Or maybe you love heading to the mountains to ski or hike.

If you value these things, this is your opportunity to act.

On an individual level, if you don’t know where to start, consider joining a local group. The Natural Resources Council of Maine, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the Sierra Club and the Union of Concerned Scientists are some places to start. They can give you direction and help amplify your voice.

But we also need policy change, with government that supports work to moderate climate change and prepare for what’s coming. With that in mind, I urge you to vote.

Think, too, of any young people in your life, including your friends if you’re a younger adult, and what legacy you want to leave them. Keep them, and everything in our beautiful state, in your hearts when you go to the polls before or on Nov. 6.

But also remember them in the days after the election. You alone cannot change everything, but if you make use of this opportunity, you can be a hero in the eyes of those young people. And perhaps you’ll inspire others to do the same.

Erica Bartlett

Portland