Anne “Andy” Burt at her home in Edgecomb. Burt is a longtime volunteer and activist for a number of social justice and environmental causes. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Anne D. Burt, known affectionately as “Andy,” is a longtime environmental advocate from Edgecomb who modestly says that everything she’s done “has really been pretty much in teamwork.”

It was a frequent member of Burt’s team, another longtime activist, Joan Saxe of Freeport, who nominated Burt for a Source award, noting her “quiet demeanor” that “belies an energetic dynamo, inspiring everyone with her commitment to environmental action in Maine.”

Over the years, Burt has launched a Women’s Voices for the Environment campaign for Sierra Club Maine; worked on climate change issues for the Maine Council of Churches; promoted a no-idling campaign; helped form a coalition called Maine Partners for Cool Communities that recruited 26 Maine municipalities to sign the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, and much, much more. Most recently, she’s been working on the “Down To Earth Storytelling” project, which is producing films about climate justice and doing grassroots work on the Pine Tree Amendment, a bill that would provide a legal basis to take action against harmful policies or developments and is scheduled to go to the Maine Senate later this month.

“It would guarantee the right to clean air, water and a healthy environment for all Maine people, including generations to come,” Burt said. “It provides a real guide to policymakers. As they are legislating and rule-making and permitting projects and so on, this is really foundational as to how you think about it. It’s getting ahead of the game, so that rather than thinking about how you’re going to clean up the toxics, you really carefully weigh ‘what sort of implications are there?’ ”

Burt, 76, is a Quaker who has always championed peace and social justice projects. Her attention turned toward the environment when she was working for Friends of Casco Bay as its first development director and had to educate herself about the marine environment.

Her dedication to climate change issues blossomed with the birth of her first grandchild 21 years ago, just as she was going to work for the Maine Council of Churches to do climate change outreach in faith communities.

Her granddaughter, Kelsey, was born three months premature. “You could practically hold her in one hand, she was so tiny,” Burt recalled. “… I found myself in a really deep moment of prayer and commitment, saying to Kelsey that I would do everything I could to make sure that she would grow up and have an Earth and a climate that would sustain life for her and her generation and beyond. That has been a driving force for me ever since.”

About 10 years ago, she was arrested protesting the Keystone pipeline.

That drive has slowed somewhat with age.

“I’m no longer the Energizer bunny that people used to say I was,” Burt said. “My heart still thinks that I should be able to do that, but I’m having to face some of those realities. The body is saying: ‘Hmmm, probably not, Andy.’ I’m having to slow down a little.”

But she has been a role model for her grandchildren, and some of them have taken up the baton. Kelsey is now a junior in college who is an activist for women’s issues and Black Lives Matter. Another granddaughter, Mira, who attends the Friends School in Portland, is a young climate change and animal rights activist.

But Burt isn’t done quite yet. Her passion still shines through when she talks about her work advocating for the Pine Tree Amendment.

“I feel so strongly that in the language, it is for generations to come,” she said. “I’m getting a little teary here. It’s laying down a legacy of what I’ve spent a lot of time and energy and commitment and love and heart pursuing over the years. I don’t want to say it’s my swan song because I know there are other things waiting in the wings – and the diva is not about to leave the stage.”


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