It has been a little over a year since I began writing weekly sustainability columns in the Sentry. My position in the South Portland Sustainability Office was my first introduction into sustainability and climate work outside of academia, and I was eager to learn more in the context and comfort of something I already loved: writing.

Mia Ambroiggio Courtesy photo

A few columns in, I was quickly coined a “sustainability Carrie Bradshaw” (not as hot, but arguably as important) by roommates and coworkers alike. I couldn’t help but wonder, what is the purpose of writing a sustainability column? Who is it reaching and what difference is it making?

The South Portland Sentry is a precious thing. Hyperlocal news delivered carefully to each doorstop every Friday; a perfect pairing for morning coffee or afternoon lounging. It has proven to be a great outreach resource for the sustainability office as well, to offer snippets of upcoming events or programming, resources and knowledge to those who read it every week.

This column has been my avenue to explore sustainability and climate in Maine and share it. To me, a core part of sustainability and climate work, and what I can bring to this field and role, is cultivating connection. The way we move through the world — in nature and in our community – is how we view it.

Our Sustainable City columns aim to connect you to our city’s natural spaces, solar arrays, food waste drop off sites and more, (hopefully) shaping the way you see South Portland as a space for climate and community resilience.

In summer, community blooms


By summer, I had published a range of articles plugging events and opportunities to get involved with the sustainability office. During July, the office put on a Plastic Free July campaign, encouraging community members to attempt to ditch all single-use plastics for the entire month.

The campaign was accompanied by weekly columns, which I received thoughtful responses to every week. Concurrently, we hosted events to distribute food waste bins and educational materials, promoting our city-wide food waste recycling program. I was approached by enthusiastic attendees, saying they had read about the event in our column.

This is the impact of outreach, of sharing. It is vital in the work we do as both municipal employees and sustainability professionals, and is impossible without the participation of community members.

Signing off

The sweetness of writing this column is as follows: learning along the way, receiving questions, comments and recommendations from residents in my inbox, growing familiarity with names and emails, contributing to South Portland being a connected, resilient community.

Thank you for reading and growing and learning alongside me this year.


Signing off,


P.S. Have no fear, Our Sustainable City will still be in the Sentry every week. The office’s new Resilience Corps fellow, Steve Genovese, will take over in the months to come.

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 @soposustainability.

Mia Ambroiggio was a member of the South Portland Sustainability Office staff.

Comments are not available on this story.