With the midterms behind us, we are presented with an opportunity to set out a new agenda for social and economic development in Maine, in a time and place specifically affected by climate change. This is a moment to adapt and invent new systems that will capitalize on Maine’s wealth of natural and human resources, and to develop new models for action and governance. Climate change is here: We already feel its impacts on weather, fisheries, tourism and more.

Maine is rich in many ways: ocean access and plenty of fresh water, forests to support carbon offsets, wilderness and waterways for recreation, a combined demographic of retired, experienced citizens and a growing return of younger people and families who are bringing creativity and social vitality. Such quality of life will be a powerful attraction for Maine, to new residents, new businesses and new technologies. We had best be prepared – starting right now.

In addition to the agenda upon which she was elected, Governor-elect Mills should convene the best of Maine’s talent to look forward to a new development vision, one that accepts the challenge of climate change and defines new solutions, one that lays out a plan based on our unique natural wealth. All the necessary tools are in place. We have imaginative citizens who wish the best for the future of the state we love. Give them a voice, a platform for participation, an opportunity to engage in the process of defining Maine for the future.

The election has given us an opportunity to construct our future and to respond creatively to changing conditions. Will Governor-elect Mills provide the leadership to guide and to follow? Will she – and all of us together – have the foresight, energy and imagination to accept the challenges we face and to take collective action?

Peter Neill

World Ocean Observatory


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