We are Mount Desert Island residents, businesses, and towns working together to achieve energy independence by 2030 and make MDI an inspiring epicenter of citizen engagement, sustainability, and economic vitality.
ACTT Interns Publish Vegan Food Guide
ACTT interns wrapped up their vegan food guide for the island. This is a resource for all who choose to be vegan/vegetarian on a daily basis, or those who wish to try something new.
The motivation for this project was driven by the destructive impacts animal agriculture has on the environment. By eating less animal products and more plant-based foods, we can help combat the climate crisis!
Click here to check it out!
MDI High School Solar Fox 22/ABC 7 Bangor
Watch the interview here!
Listen to “How MDI residents helped double their island's solar capacity.” Read script here.
MDI High School Solar Ribbon Cutting Attracts Statewide Media Attention
Mount Desert Island High School (MDIHS) celebrated the completion of Maine’s largest high school solar array in a ribbon cutting ceremony on September 18. Superintendent Marc Gousse, Principal Matt Haney, and ACTT student interns shared their thoughts on the installation, sustainability, and the significance for the school of switching to 100% clean electricity. Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives Sara Gideon and local Representative Brian Hubbell also spoke to the project as a community role model for Maine, in line with the new administration’s goals for addressing climate change and solar legislation.
The project was inspired by Drew Rich, MDIHS class of 2017, whose senior exhibition project served as a catalyst to move solar at the high school from a concept to reality and facilitated by A Climate to Thrive (ACTT), a non-profit organization committed to energy independence for MDI by 2030. Going solar will save the high school an estimated $1.3 million in electricity costs over 25 years.
Matt Haney, MDI High School Principal said "I am incredibly proud of the collective efforts that have led us to this momentous occasion. We would not be at this place without a phenomenal partnership comprised of our students, alumni, staff, elected officials, Sundog Solar, A Climate to Thrive, and the entire MDI-area community. I am filled with gratitude that we have this opportunity to lead the way in our state in such a critical and timely undertaking." The MDIHS Board of Trustees reviewed and approved the solar array in January of this year.
Installation of 1,450 solar panels will be completed shortly by Sundog Solar of Searsport, Maine. The 435 kW array will generate enough electricity over the course of the year to offset 100% of the school’s electricity consumption. The high school will remain connected to the grid, generating excess electricity and kWh credits in summer to offset lower power output in winter.
Friday, Sept. 20th, 12:00-1:00, Village Green
“The climate crisis is an emergency. This September millions of us will walk out of our workplaces and homes to join young climate strikers on the streets to demand that leaders respond to this emergency and for an end to the age of fossil fuels. Join us on the Village Green on September 20th to send the message that business as usual is no longer acceptable.”
Like and share the event on Facebook to spread the word!
New Solar Project Coordinator!
Bryan Carroll, of Isle au Haut, has recently been hired by A Climate To Thrive (ACTT) to manage the already successful solar program, and organize efforts to bring solar solutions to residents, businesses, and towns of MDI and surrounding communities.
This position dovetails well with his current position as General Manager of the Isle au Haut Electric Power Company where he is overseeing the creation of an off-grid micro-grid for the entire island. He has 15 years of experience integrating residential, commercial, and community solar throughout New England and the islands of the Caribbean. Owing thanks to the new solar legislation in the State of Maine, he hopes to play a role in drastically increasing the solar generating capacity on MDI.
MDI High School to Save Additional Million Dollars!
On Wednesday June 26th, Governor Janet Mills signed into law three major renewable energy reform bills, pushing the State of Maine to a position of national climate leadership. Our interns attended the event, which took place in Pittsfield at the largest solar array in the state, consisting of 40,300 panels generating 9.9 megawatts at peak performance, providing symbolic background of the energy reform to come. One bill, LD 1711 includes a 75% solar credit for the Transmission and Distribution portion of the bills for large consumers such as the MDI High School where panels are being installed this month. Trustees approved the solar installation in January with an initial projected savings of $216,000 over 25 years; this new credit increases savings to $1,276,000!
The two additional bills bring significant change in emission reductions and renewable energy standards. LD 1679 sets to reduce carbon emissions below 1990s levels by 45% in 2030 and 80% by 2050, as well as establishing a Maine Climate Council. The third and final bill LD 1494 increases Maine’s renewable portfolio standard to 80% renewables by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
ACTT believes these legislative changes will bring a greater urgency to diverge from electricity produced by fossil fuels, while saving money.
This Small Island is Taking on a Big Problem — Climate Change
On Maine’s Mount Desert Island, home to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, the sea brings news of change. Over the last 15 years, the Gulf of Maine has warmed faster than 99 percent of the global ocean. Storms more frequently swamp the island’s low-lying roads. Lobsters, who prefer the cold, have started a slow march north toward Canadian waters, taking the state’s iconic industry with them. Ticks, who like it warm, have multiplied, as have reports of Lyme disease. Another insect, the red pine scale, burrows into conifers and kills them from the inside out. Rusted and skeletal, the trees die overlooking the island’s smooth-bouldered shores.
Lodging Businesses Can Now Take the Sustainable MDI Pledge!
This summer, the number of restaurants and lodging businesses who took the pledge in pursuit of sustainability-driven goals has grown from 50 to 71 businesses. When all four Mount Desert Island towns passed plastic bag and foam ordinances this year, it made room for the businesses to expand the pledge to include all of its original sustainability goals: reducing, reusing and recycling, optimizing energy, transitioning to renewable sources, curbing food waste, sourcing food sustainably, and using non-toxic cleaning products. The SMDI decal marks businesses which have enacted or are transitioning to at least five of these ten long-range visionary practices this year.
This summer, ACTT received a grant to expand SMDI’s reach beyond food businesses. The Asticou Inn and the Bar Harbor Inn which already pledged for their in-house restaurants last year, took the lead adapting SMDI’s goals for lodging businesses. Eleven more hotels, inns and B&Bs have already signed on to the new pledge: the Acacia House Inn, Ann's Point Inn, Aysgarth Station B&B, Bar Harbor Villager, The Birches B&B and Cottages, Harbour Cottage Inn, Holbrook House B&B, Kingsleigh Inn, Lighthouse Inn, Saltair Inn, and Shore Path Cottage. The ripples are spreading even beyond lodging businesses, as the Criterion Theater and the entire MDI Regional School District have both taken the pledge. Please encourage your favorite businesses to join if they haven’t already!
For more info, contact Jill Higgins, ACTT Co-Coordinator, 207-664-4040 firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to see the list of current pledgers.
ACTT Interns Visit Maine Statehouse
ACTT interns visited the Maine Statehouse Thursday, July 25th to discuss current climate issues with lawmakers and leaders. Interns met with the President of the Senate Troy Jackson, the Office of Speaker Sara Gideon, State Representative for Bar Harbor Brian Hubbell, and Cassaundra Rose from Governor Mills’ Office of Policy, Innovation, and the Future.
In these meetings, interns expressed why they are interested in climate issues, as well as the projects that they are currently working on and what they have learned during the internship thus far. They asked what each office hoped to accomplish in the future and emphasized why actions need to be taken swiftly and comprehensively.
See Brian Hubbell's keynote address at the MDI Hospital Annual Meeting. He speaks of his proudest legislative accomplishment - moving policy forward which counters the prospect of economic disruption from climate change and establishes a model and vision for Maine - with the help of A Climate to Thrive.
Students' Dream for a Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban Became A Reality
The Bar Harbor Town Council chambers were packed and overflowing for the public hearing on banning single use carryout plastic bags and polystyrene foam containers the night of January 15. The public and town councillor comments, which were overwhelmingly in support of the ordinances, met with rousing applause, and the final comments by Charlotte Partin and Logan Wilbur, two of the high school freshmen who initiated, wrote and helped advocate for the measures, moved some of us to tears. The council voted and passed the two bans to jubilant applause. They will go into effect this Valentine's Day, but businesses will be able to use up their old stock before switching to alternatives. If you weren’t there, you can watch the hearing here about 12 - 13 minutes in.
The ordinances spread quickly. Southwest Harbor passed them in November, and Mount Desert and Tremont passed them via a vote at the annual town meetings in May.
You can learn more about reducing single-use plastics on MDI here.
Mount Desert Island High School Goes 100% Solar!
On January 2nd, the Board of Trustees accepted a proposal from Sundog Solar of Searsport to install a flat roof solar array designed to generate as many kilowatt hours as the school uses annually. Under a Power Purchase Agreement, the high school will bear no upfront cost and stands to save a minimum of $220,000-420,000 over 25 years. As an official educational partner of the MDI Regional School System, ACTT worked closely with Principal Matt Haney and the high school ECO team to seek and review bids. The new system will be 3 times the size of the recently installed Tremont Landfill array and is equivalent to power used by 50 homes. Community members have been expressing their excitement about this news through comments on ACTT’s Facebook page. Click here to read what the community has to say about this awesome news.
Local Couple Offers $25,000 Challenge Pledge to A Climate to Thrive
A local couple who grew up on MDI have made a five-year, $25,000 matching pledge to A Climate to Thrive which would be the largest tax-deductible gift in our 20-month existence. "We enthusiastically support the mission of ACTT and envision its expansion to communities across the State."
Positive News! 82% of Adults Support Rebates for People who Purchase Energy-efficient Vehicles or Solar Panels
Click here for full article on Americans' view on Climate Change
Climate Change Communications Workshop a Success
35 people attended a workshop developed by the Maine Climate Table on May 1 at the Northeast Harbor Library. Tyler Kidder of the Onion Foundation led an exciting interactive workshop that explored the results of in-depth research about climate change messages that resonate especially well with Mainers. Based on extensive Maine social science research conducted by communication professionals through the Maine Climate Table, the workshop included information on modern brain science as well as findings on how to change opinion and move audiences to action.
Several educators and rangers from Acadia National Park, and representatives from the Abbe Museum, Friends of Acadia, the Ellsworth Green Plan, and other organizations were in attendance. All attendees received the print edition of supporting research.
Get Involved! Join one of our ongoing projects to help create a positive future for MDI by helping us promote clean energy locally and throughout Maine, improve building efficiency, reinvent local food systems, develop climate-friendly transportation, move toward zero waste, reduce single use plastics, and influence public policy.
Our projects featured above and below ...
will create jobs, preserve the beauty of this island, and establish MDI as a resource and leader for communities around the world.
Maine Energy Visioning Project
Maine Youth Climate Action
Expanding Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
Large-Scale Solar Energy
Winter Farmers Market with Healthy Acadia’s MDI FarmDrop
Youth Community Catalysts with MDI Schools
Are you passionate about clean energy, zero waste, public policy, or climate-friendly transportation? We welcome you to join one of our exciting projects and help create the future that you envision for your family, your grandchildren, and future generations.
ON CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION is happening everyday!
CLICK HERE OR ON THE ITEMS BELOW TO READ all ABOUT it!
A Successful 2019 Summit!
Over 200 people from around the state joined us at MDI High School on February 10 for our Summit event, “Building a Brighter Future: Stepping up to the Climate Change Challenge”. A variety of community members shared their own success stories and what they are personally doing to take action towards a more sustainable MDI. From high school students who implemented a plastic bag and styrofoam ban, to a local hotel manager aiming to adopt more sustainable practices, it was great to hear from MDI residents who are passionate about conserving our island!
We're very excited about the positive energy that this year’s event helped to create, and look forward to continue working together towards a more sustainable future!
“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” - Thomas Edison (1931)
Thanks to the following organizations for their generous support.