By Mia Ambroiggio
You may have noticed plentiful campaign lawn signs popping up on front lawns, which can only mean one thing: election season is here! This month we explain what climate-friendly voting looks like, and what tools exist to help voters choose which candidates they support. We also include some climate highlights of the past year.
Who we elect at the state and federal level makes a huge difference in what Maine can and will do to advance climate action. Climate-friendly voting means supporting legislators who advocate for climate action: those who will help pass legislation to protect Maine’s natural resources, make our communities sustainable and vibrant, and encourage further climate action.
Tools and resources
A number of organizations have resources to help the public decide which candidates are likely to make decisions with the climate in mind, if elected to office. These include:
1) Maine Conservation Voters. This organization posts the climate-minded candidates they endorse on their website as a resource for Maine voters. See who Maine Conservation Voters is endorsing in 2022 at www.maineconservation.org/elections/2022-endorsements.
2) Natural Resource Council of Maine (NRCM). This organization has a “bill tracking” page with information on the status of climate-related legislation. The page is continually updated during the legislative session and provides the latest status and background information on the priority bills NRCM is following. See the current status of proposed and passed bills at www.nrcm.org/programs/state-house/legislative-bill-tracking/.
3) NRCM also has a Take Action Toolkit on how to participate in the legislative process and speak out in support of Maine’s natural resources. View the toolkit at www.nrcm.org/get-involved/take-action/take-action-toolkit/.
Climate legislation highlights
This has been a big year for climate action in Maine. Although a lot more work is yet to be done, celebrating successes as they occur is important. Here are just a few bills that passed in 2022 that both protect our people and natural resources, and advance climate action:
● LD 906: This bill improves access to safe drinking water for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik and surrounding communities.
● LD 1902: This bill establishes the Climate Education Professional Development Pilot Program to prepare Maine students and teachers to respond to the climate crisis.
● LD 1911: This bill makes Maine the first state in the nation to ban the application of PFAS-contaminated sludge and sludge-derived compost to prevent the further contamination of farmland.
To learn more about legislation passed this year, read Maine Conservation Voters’ 2022 Scorecard at www.maineconservation.org/scores.