Climate activists petition bastions of power, like Exxon and Shell. They chant, “this is what democracy looks like!” They of course get no response – corporations are not democracies.

They chant to government leaders; to legislatures, parliaments and elected officials. But legislatures are struggling to retain, let alone expand, their own effective power. This is a worldwide phenomenon.

Shoring up democracy while confronting climate change is today’s challenge. The decarbonized world of 2050 must look very different from the exploitative high-consumption world we live in now if we are to maintain the luxury of democracy. No single clear path shows us how to get there from here.

Assuredly, though, a decarbonized 2050 won’t come through incremental steps like recycling and electric-vehicle rebates alone, or worse, through undemocratic projects like the Central Maine Power corridor with its built-in private profit motive to generate and sell more electricity that, in turn, fuels demand and is itself fueled by other forms of ecological plunder.

Decarbonization is a social project as much as it is a technical one. Presently the Maine Public Utilities Commission is seeking decarbonization plans through a request for transportation electrification proposals from private firms. This says, essentially, “We in the public sector are incapable of vision and planning and must ask private, undemocratic institutions to plan our future for us.” Where is the vision from our elected officials that can inspire our vote?

Please, candidates, bring us your plans so that we can vote for them and chart our decarbonized future publicly and democratically.

Eben Rose

South Portland

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