Last weekend I stayed up until midnight, fighting the urge my eyelids had to close to see a glimpse of the Super Flower Blood Moon lunar eclipse, an absurdly long title for a big, springtime red moon.

I could not see the eclipse in the thick fog, only a dim red glow across the sky. The process of sitting in the dark of my room with the windows wide open, however, was an experience in itself. Listening to night sounds and feeling the dampness of the humid evening seep into my bedroom was calming and recharging.

The biophilia hypothesis is the idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. Derek Davis photo/Press Herald

The next day, friends checked in. Did you stay up? Did you see it? After a particularly warm weekend spent entirely outside it was hard to stay awake that late. Our bodies were tired in that sweet, special way that happens in the spring and summer.

I received a text: “I hope the moon seeped into us while we were sleeping; I left my windows and curtains open so it would.”

I responded: “Me too.”

The biophilia hypothesis that we seek connection with earth and all life forms is present in everything we do. We feel strongly when we are surrounded by nature and others, and find indescribable meaning in these moments. Meaning that moves us.


Mondays in the Sustainability Office the team leaves the confines of their cubicles and we all sit together around an oval table. We ask, “How was your weekend?”

We share our favorite moments with each other before our meeting begins. Without fail, all of our weekend highlights are the time we spent outside. Our joy comes from our connection to the planet. And, additionally, our motivation to work in the sustainability field comes from the same place. At that same table, still buzzing from our weekend reminiscing, we exchange weekly goals, updates, accomplishments and roadblocks to move South Portland toward achieving its climate-action goals.

It is important to recognize this balance. Climate action must be ambitious, it must be rigorous, it must be constant. Climate action must also be the recognition and appreciation of our connection to the earth. We must remember what guides us through this work.

As an office, we envision a community engaged with us along every step of climate action and sustainability programming. We also urge everyone to practice climate action through honoring this connection: spending time walking through our trails and preserves, spending the sunset at Willard Beach, or biking around your neighborhood.

We are working toward a future of renewable energy, circular economic systems and emission-free transportation. We are also working toward a future where we can still spend the weekends outside, listen to night bugs sing and stay up for an eclipsed moon.

Our Sustainable City is a recurring column in the Sentry intended to provide residents with news and information about sustainability initiatives in South Portland. Follow the Sustainability Office on Instagram and Facebook @soposustainability.

Mia Ambroiggio is a Greater Portland Council of Governments Resilience Corps Fellow serving in the Sustainability Office. She can be reached at

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