Sierra Club Maine’s Earth Day celebration, with the theme “Restore Our Earth,” will be virtual again this year, but Executive Director Sarah Leighton said there is still plenty in store to “inspire and educate others” on the importance of protecting the planet.

“Sierra Club’s mission is to explore, enjoy and protect Earth,” Leighton said. “That really epitomizes Earth Day. It is a celebration of our Earth and everything it provides us with.”

Sierra Club Maine is hosting a series of virtual talks leading up to the 51st anniversary of Earth Day on Thursday, April 22. In addition, Maine Audubon, teaming with the Maine Outdoor Film Festival, will mark the day with an Earth Day Film Festival 2021, a series of short outdoor-themed independent films, beginning at 7 p.m.

One of the Sierra Club Maine’s focuses, Leighton said, is how to reduce waste. On Monday, April 19, beginning at noon, Faye Christoforo, co-executive director of the Post-Landfill Action Network, will talk about what is fueling the increase in waste being produced and how a zero-waste world is possible.

The next day, on Tuesday, April 20 at noon, Sue Inches, author of “Advocating for the Environment: How to Gather Your Power and Take Action” will share examples of how individuals can advocate for the environment.

Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, will speak at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 21 on his expeditions across Antarctica, the Arctic, the Himalayas and the Andes and how climate change there is impacting Maine.

The Sierra Club Maine talks will wrap up Thursday, April 22 at 5 p.m. with a panel discussion on how racism, the economy and climate change intersect. The panel will feature Josh Wood, a race and climate justice organizer and co-organizing director for Maine Strikes;  Ania Wright, grassroots climate action organizer for Sierra Club Maine; and Davis Taylor, professor of Economics and Quantitative Social Studies at College of the Atlantic.

“We have quite a diverse offering,” Leighton said. “We hope to attract a lot of different people.”

While each Sierra Club Maine talk focuses on a different theme, Leighton said the key takeaway is simple.

“Each one of us has a role to play. You don’t have to be president or a legislator to make a difference. You can play a role in your everyday life, whether it is reducing your waste, installing solar panels or having a conversation about the importance of renewable energy sources,” she said.

According to Earthday.org, more than 1 billion people in 192 countries now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

Maine Audubon is partnering with the Maine Outdoor Film Festival for the eighth year in a row to present the Earth Day Film Festival.

“We spend every day taking action on behalf of the environment, specifically wildlife and habitat,” ¬†Education Director Eric Topper said. “Earth Day is normally a day for participating in and coordinating action, like our annual Scarborough Marsh cleanup, but it is also a day to join with our friends and just celebrate conservation, the outdoors and many of the other things we value.”

 

 

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