PORTLAND, Maine — Michelle Radley is a third-generation Mainer. She is working with others across the state on The Climate Initiative.
“I was born and raised in Maine. It’s really about the people here that mostly drives my passion,” Radley said.
Radley works with people like Karina Graeter, the sustainability coordinator for the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission.
“We’re trying to work with the state and partner with them on specific initiatives, like trying to get heat pumps into homes, and also trying to take what programs the state’s working on in terms of the transportation infrastructure how can that support what needs to happen here locally,” Graeter said.
Graeter is partnering with The Climate Initiative on Kennebunkport’s climate action plan. Meanwhile, Radley is using her experience from living in Maine to fuel her desire to keep her home the way it should be.
“It’s a very loving and warm community that I’ve experienced as well as people that are very passionate about the places they live. The history behind them passing them down from family to family. Just deep ties. We want to be able to keep some of these coastal communities intact going forward,” Radley said.
To do that, Greater said a strategic map is crucial, one that the community and municipal government can take to address climate change issues in the future. Actions like reducing emissions, adapting homes to not rely on fossil fuels, and preparing roads for sea level rise.
And it’s not just about helping one small town.
“We’re also working with more inland, rural communities like Fryeburg and Berwick, and that is what we’re trying to figure out now…how we can help those communities,” Graeter said.
Graeter added there’s not a lot of staff in smaller communities to take on this issue, but regional organizations can take lessons learned like in towns like Kennebunkport. Then it’s just about applying those lessons to other parts of the state more efficiently.
They say their work at the local level supports the statewide climate action plan called "Maine won’t wait."