This year, the Natural Resources Council of Maine is proudly celebrating 60 years of protecting the nature of Maine. How fortunate we are that in 1959, a handful of people came together to protect the Allagash River from a dam project that would have spoiled the region forever. Saving that special place was the first of many victories over the next six decades. Helping restore the Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers, helping establish the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, and just weeks ago, helping Maine pass the first-in-the-nation ban on polystyrene food containers—these achievements help keep Maine the state we love.
NRCM continues to use policy, legal, and scientific expertise in combination with grassroots engagement across the state. Our staff experts are in constant contact with our elected officials and other decision-makers, trying to figure out what path to take next to protect our environment. They work with many other nonprofits and with businesses, too, who understand that a healthy environment is good for our people and our economy. We also need our 25,000 members and supporters from across the state and the country to make your voices heard. Maine would not be the place it is today without NRCM, and NRCM is all of these people speaking up over the last 60 years.
At times these days, our country seems mired in confusion. Our differences can create divisions so raw that I worry sometimes if they can ever be healed. But if our experience in Maine is any indication, there is a lot of hope and opportunity still. It is truly a new day in Augusta. We are having productive conversations about how to move forward work on climate, clean water protections, our land conservation program, and how to stop the scourge of plastic pollution. Civility is returning, and we are becoming stronger as we hold each other up, regardless of where we live or where we come from. That is the Maine I love. And it gives me hope for the rest of the country.
What have we learned in 60 years? Your voice matters. You can change the course of history and help others do the same. Don’t allow partisan-dividers to win. Reach out to your neighbors and listen to their stories. Talk to them about what matters to you. Find common ground. If nowhere else, you are likely to find it during a walk in the woods. Embrace the ideas of all Mainers—new Mainers, old Mainers, young Mainers, Mainers who struggle with economic security, and so on. Political administrations come and go. Hot button issues come and go. But we are all still here and need to make sure we are working together. Keep the fire inside of you burning by taking care of yourself, especially by enjoying all that Maine has to offer. The trees and woods and waters will be here, too, if we take good care of them.
—Lisa Pohlmann, CEO
Note: Blog originally printed in 2019 spring Maine Environment newsletter
Banner photo: Lisa Pohlmann at the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, by Elaine Isakson