On March 1st, the Natural Resource Council of Maine hosted their annual Citizen Action Day where students from all across the state attended. Representatives from University of Maine Orono, Unity College, and University of New England gathered to discuss critical bills currently going through the Legislature including LD 1649, a comprehensive solar energy bill, and LD 1578, an update of Maine’s solid waste management laws. Giving students a voice in issues pertaining to the state is important in promoting advocacy and encouraging civic engagement among young adults in Maine.
Events such as the Citizen Action Day allow the public to see first-hand how government works. “It allows people to speak up and take a proactive stance on issues facing the state,” says Stef Burchill, an Environmental Writing and Media Studies major at Unity College. “When average citizens are able to take part in the process of bill making,” Burchill says, “they see democracy at work.”
When diverse groups get involved to cooperate in the legislative process, it often leads to better environmental protections. Students in Maine need to get involved with this process to enact change at all levels. We hold a stake in the future of this state and this country, and we want to help create a vision of prosperity for generations to come. Citizen Action Day and events that promote cooperative engagement make a big difference in creating this vision. As students who attended the event, we want to extend our appreciation to the Natural Resource Council of Maine for giving us the opportunity to collaborate and work to solve the greatest environmental threats to our state.
Guest post by Michael Rossi ’16 Unity College Environmental Policy, Law, and Society and Anthony Holzhauser ’19 Unity College Wildlife Biology and Wildlife & Fisheries Management