Heating oil prices are the lowest they’ve been in years, but we know as the thermometer drops, the costs will rise. Last year’s extreme cold and brutal storms are forecast to continue into next winter. As we stockpile firewood, Mainers are confronted with the global impact of a changing climate on a local scale.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the global view. But right here in Maine we are seeing the impacts in more extreme weather year round damaging our roads and buildings and impacting farmers, concern over shifts in the temperature and acidity of the Gulf of Maine impacting our fishing industry and the families and communities dependent on this sector. So much of what we hear about climate change seems beyond our reach, but there are steps that can be taken here at home that will have a meaningful impact on our towns and cities.
GrowSmart Maine Executive Director Nancy Smith will be one of fourteen Maine business and municipal leaders, legislators, educators and representatives of non-governmental organizations traveling to Denmark to look at actions being taken in that country to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce the carbon footprint in transportation, heating and cooling of buildings, and community design. Climate Tour: Denmark 2015 will bring back to Maine the lessons learned and usable tools and strategies that have resulted in Denmark being recognized as a world leader in addressing climate change and in reducing its fossil fuel use by over 1/3 since 1971.
The delegation from Maine will engage with Danish business, government and nonprofit leaders to explore opportunities for economic improvement through renewable energy development. The tour runs from August 30-September 6th.
Climate Tour: Denmark 2015 is focused on cities and towns in Denmark that have community-based initiatives in recycling, biomass, wind and solar. Championing cooperative ownership of renewable energy facilities has enabled communities in Denmark to reduce dependence on imported oil, coal and gas. Like Denmark, Maine enjoys strong local communities and potential for solar, biomass and wind.
The trip is led by Sue Inches, an independent consultant in Business and Community Development. $5 billion leaves Maine every year in the cost of fossil fuels used for heat and transportation. “Maine towns want to reduce the financial burden and environmental impact of relying on fossil fuels,” says Inches, “and the Denmark program will provide tools and inspiration to do just that.” Partners in the Denmark project include Hurley Travel and State of Green, a Danish agency devoted to sharing Denmark’s path to sustainability with visitors from other countries.
GrowSmart Maine’s Annual Meeting on October 20th, Community Solutions for a Changing Climate will feature trip participants sharing their findings. “Denmark is a fit with our goal to provide tools to communities that inspire them to provide high quality places to live and work,” said Nancy Smith, Executive Director. “We look forward to sharing our findings with communities around the state.” The trip will stimulate and support specific initiatives such as local climate action plans, and incentives for recycling, renewable and distributed energy.
Climate Tour: Denmark 2015 Participant List:
Daniel Hildreth, Chairman, Diversified Communications, Inc.
Nancy Smith, Executive Director, GrowSmart Maine
Senator Roger Katz, Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs
Representative Martin Grohman, Joint Standing Committee on Energy and Utilities
Tyler Kidder, Sustainability Coordinator, University of Southern Maine
Carla Dickstein, VP Research and Policy, Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
Donna Larson, Town Planner, Freeport
Lynn Bromley, Regional Advocate, Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy
Kate Dempsey, Director External Affairs, The Nature Conservancy
Matt Hancock, Owner, Ski Mt. Abram
Erica Mazzeo, Education Administrator, Town of Falmouth
Elaine Abbott, City Manager, Eastport
John Egan, Senior Vice President Lending, Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
Sue Inches, Trip Leader, Community Development Consultant