Following another year of record-setting heat waves, two local environmental organizations are teaming up to start 2022 with a free, six-part virtual series aimed at helping Mainers fight climate change.

“Taking Action on Climate,” organized by Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and the Cathance River Education Alliance, will feature a wide range of experts, including scientists, economists and local growers.

Angela Twitchell of Topsham helped lead the planning process for the series along with volunteers from Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust and the Cathance River Education Alliance. Contributed / Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust

“Here in our Midcoast Maine towns, it’s just so clear that we are already witnessing climate change,” said Angela Twitchell, executive director of the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. “Today out at Popham Beach, the waters were flooding over the road. Houses on the shore built up on bluffs that are eroding away. This particular series seemed urgent.”

The six 90-minute sessions, which will stream Thursdays at 7 p.m., will cover topics from corporate disinformation to waste reduction. Those interested in attending can register on either organization’s website, btlt.org and creamaine.org

“This is the time of year when people are making their resolutions and taking stock of priorities,” said Caroline Eliot, executive director of the Cathance River Education Alliance. “We’re hoping that they make taking action on climate a priority.”

The two groups last collaborated on climate change programming in 2016, when they produced a series aimed at educating viewers about climate change’s impact on Maine.

But after several years of increasingly extreme weather, including Maine’s warmest ever in 2020, organizers decided the 2022 talks should cover concrete steps forward, Eliot said.

“The focus of the series this time is very much about trying to help people understand what actions they can take, because the next 10 years are really important,” she said. “We really need to bring greenhouse gas levels down by 2030.”

In addition to writing their congressional representatives and buying efficient cars and heating systems, consumers can make a positive difference by supporting growers who use environmentally friendly practices, said Nick Whatley, who co-owns Whatley Farm in Topsham with his wife and son.

Nick Whatley, 64, will talk about organic farming and local food systems in a Jan. 20 session titled “What’s on Your Dinner Plate?” Contributed / Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust

“I want people to understand just how important it is to participate in the local food economy,” said Whatley, who will contribute to the series’ third presentation on Jan. 20.

By adopting no-till techniques, he said, farmers promote carbon sequestration, meaning more carbon gets trapped in the soil. The result is less harmful carbon dioxide in the air and more nutrient-loaded soil and produce.

“It’s kind of a triple-win,” Whatley said.

Though the event will reinforce the magnitude of the fight against climate change, organizers stressed that there is reason for optimism as long as people are willing to confront the problem.

“We don’t just have to hope,” Twitchell said. “We know what causes climate change. We’ve got some great research and experts out there can help us figure out actions we can take to help mitigate climate change. So that’s what we want to focus people on.”

“We don’t want to leave people all freaked out about this,” Whatley said. “We want to find many ways to invite people into an interesting project – one that also might save the planet.”

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