Working at the Natural Resources Council of Maine has many perks. Advocating for Maine’s environment, working alongside passionate and compassionate people, participating in a needed clean energy transition, and, on occasion, plunging into the frigid Atlantic to ring in the New Year and raise money for our important work. NRCM is preparing for it’s 15th annual Polar Bear Dip & Dash at Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) in South Portland on Saturday, December 31st. Fifteen years of experience proves that we know what we’re doing (right??), but this will be the first time in a few years that we will be able to come together for a full event rather than dipping discretely around the state with our pandemic pods. Replete with an organized 5k race around Bug Light Park, a supervised dip into Casco Bay, and upbeat tunes from our DJ, this won’t be one to miss.
This year, I humbly accepted the monumentally important task of previewing the 5k route to ensure that this year’s participants will have the best possible experience. And, trust me, you will. The coastal route provides regular views out to Fort Gorges over a bay dappled with boats and buoys, lapping past Bug Light before returning to the scenic SMCC campus for some dipping and dancing. It’s hard to imagine a more Maine 5k: cold, coastal, and community-based in and around the clean waters of Maine’s waterfront. My advice is to take in the scenery and stay warm, but we’re excited to see some competitive flare as well. I ran the route on a surprisingly temperate November day and decided that the dip portion didn’t need practicing, but I’m eager to get back on the course with the cold as a motivator.
The Dip & Dash is all the more special to me this year as the $30,000 we hope to raise through this event goes directly to our work on climate change mitigation and a clean energy future for Maine. So, your participation will directly contribute to NRCM’s work to reduce climate pollution, increase access to clean transportation, and promote energy-efficient solutions for homes and businesses. We’ve made tremendous strides these past few years as we’ve worked hard to implement Maine’s Climate Action Plan and build upon our continued progress as a state, and the upcoming legislative session will again be packed with climate and clean energy priorities.
The amount of work we must do to usher in a clean energy transition and ensure a safe and healthy climate future can at times feel daunting, but the support we’ve received and the victories we’ve achieved keep us fighting for Maine’s future. As a refresher, take a look at the impact of our grid planning and accountability bill last year and our host of climate successes the year before. The Maine Climate Action Plan turned two this year, and the Two-Year Progress Report shows just how far we’ve come as a state on electric vehicle adoption, electric heat pump installation, clean energy development, and more.
The upcoming Dip & Dash is a fun and exhilarating way to contribute to our climate future, and there will also be many other opportunities to participate in our climate and clean energy work in the coming months and years. If you can’t make it in person on December 31st, you can still be part of the fun by signing up to do a dip of your own at a location of your choosing in Maine between December 24th and January 1st. I hope you’ll join us as we work to keep our dashes fun, our dips cold, and our state moving forward on climate progress.
—Josh Caldwell, NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Outreach Coordinator