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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. 

Get Involved!  Join one of our ongoing projects to help create a positive future for MDI by helping us promote clean energy, improve efficiency, reinvent local food systems, develop climate-friendly transportation, move toward zero waste, and influence public policy. 


ACTT Leaders and Summer Interns Go to Augusta to Promote Solar Energy

Having gained attention throughout Maine with several successful solar energy projects on Mount Desert Island, A Climate to Thrive (ACTT) is now seeking to expand our influence statewide on solar energy policy. A visioning meeting with key legislators, energy experts, and stakeholders is planned for this Fall in Bar Harbor. The meeting is designed to set out a vision for solar and renewable energy policy at the state level well ahead of the upcoming transition in leadership next January.

Bar Harbor Representative Brian Hubbell invited ACTT leaders and two summer interns, Irene Choi, a senior at Mount Desert Island High School (MDIHS), and Sam Murray, an MDIHS grad now in his junior year at Wheaton College, to meet with the Maine Speaker of the House, Sara Gideon at the State House in Augusta.

The trip also included a meeting with Dylan Voorhees, Climate and Clean Energy Project Director, and his staff, and Vaughan Woodruff, President of Insource Renewables, a leading solar advocate for Maine’s solar energy industry. Irene Choi said “It was so fascinating to see three very different perspectives on ways to make change happen from the Speaker from a large environmental organization and from the business.” 


Sustainable MDI Food Business Pledge

44 Businesses Have Already Taken the Pledge!  Click here to see the list.

This spring, owners & staff members of MDI restaurants, cafes, take-outs & catering companies came together with A Climate to Thrive (ACTT) to find effective, practical and economical ways to tackle the growing environmental and health crisis of single-use plastic waste.

We’ve developed a local pledge program to reduce plastic and styrofoam for the upcoming season and get compostable products composted. Food businesses that commit to adopt at least 3 of the 6 sustainable practices in the pledge (as soon as old supplies run out) will get decals to display and will be listed in our publicity campaign.

The pledge is open to any business on or around MDI that sells prepared food - including markets that sell food and/or drinks to go. To see or take the pledge, click here.  

We’re working out group discounts for compostable products and for pick-up by the high-heat industrial composting services that plant-based compostable plastics require.  

Please consider joining us and help us spread the word!  For more info, contact Jill Higgins, ACTT Co-Coordinator  207-664-4040


Welcome Four Brilliant ACTT Summer High School and College Interns

 Top: Sam Murray, Ella Pappas         Bottom: Evelyn Zumwalt, Irene Choi

We are thrilled to have four super smart, creative, and motivated interns working with us this summer, helping us take advantage of the groundswell of action for sustainability that is happening on MDI right now! They all love nature, care about the future of our island, and are very motivated to learn how to raise awareness and motivate change about climate change and sustainability, and how to implement those changes through our local and state governments.

Sam Murray is a graduate of MDI High School and a Junior at Wheaton College majoring in Political Science and History. He's especially interested in public policy and the process of how things get done. Ella Pappas just graduated from MDI High School and is heading to UMaine to major in Cultural Anthropology and minor in Political Science. She's especially interested in food and climate. Irene Choi, a senior at MDIHS, is a jazz musician especially interested in public policy and political action for positive change. Evelyn Zumwalt, a Junior at MDIHS, is excited about learning more about solar energy and is interested in art, invention, engineering, and design.

Thanks to funding from the Fisher Charitable Foundation, these interns will be helping us with many of our initiatives. 

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MDI is Moving Away From
Single-use Plastic Bags


Many Southwest Harbor residents came out to their town meeting on May 7 to support four eighth grade Pemetic School students who shared their research and concerns about plastic waste and called on the community to increase sustainable practices and consider a single-use plastic bag ordinance.  The students have since been invited to and have given their presentation to the Town Selectman of Mount Desert and Tremont - inviting them to join in an island-wide effort. 

ACTT is providing educational support to a new local group of residents that are proposing ordinances in Bar Harbor and Southwest Harbor. 14 mostly coastal Maine towns have passed ordinances to ban or reduce single-use plastic bags and/or polystyrene in the past 2 years.  

Want to help? Email Christy Seed

Mount Desert Island – A Small Place with Some Big Environmental Goals

ACTT was featured in the Portland Press Herald. This column by Marina Schauffler appeared in her Sea Change column on March 11, 2018

The A Climate to Thrive group, formed in part to make the island energy-independent by 2030, is thriving. Mount Desert Island is a long way from the corridors of power, and what’s happening in Augusta and Washington holds scant promise of fostering a healthier environment or economy. So a growing number of MDI residents are taking matters into their own hands. Two years ago, they formed A Climate to Thrive (ACTT), seeking to help MDI “become an epicenter of citizen engagement, environmental sustainability and economic vitality.” A big part of that vision is to make MDI energy-independent – relying solely on local, renewable power – by 2030. 

This ambitious goal generated skepticism at first but more people are coming around, particularly after the group’s recent Summit drew upwards of 250 people to partake in 14 different workshops. 


Weatherize MDI Helps Islanders Save Energy and Money

We would like to thank our vendor, Mark Burnett, and his crew at New England Energy Consulting for working hard to convince people that saving energy is well worth the investment in weatherization - since it is!  We also want to thank First National Bank  for their generous support of our Weatherize MDI program in its first year.

While not as wildly successful as Solarize MDI the previous year, New England Energy Consulting, through Weatherize MDI ...

  • Provided 79 Free Home Energy Consults
  • Secured 19 Contracts for Insulation and Air Sealing

We learned that reaching low-income families who are most in need is difficult. As a result, we initiated and built new relationships with other service providers, with whom we will continue to work with. 

2018 ACTT Summit: Powering Our Future in January was an inspiration for over 280 participants!

Led by over 20 knowledgeable presenters who are taking charge of our energy future and leading climate change action, we shared success stories, confronted challenges, and left feeling hopeful! Josh Castonguay, VP of Innovation for Green Mountain Power, kicked off ACTT Summit with a compelling case for moving away from large, centralized, fossil fuel and nuclear power plants to decentralized power that places renewable energy production close to the customer.



Many MDI businesses are working hard to reduce fossil fuel use, add solar energy, eliminate disposable plastics, and/or use local and sustainably grown food. Read about what Peekytoe Provisions, Galyn’s Restaurant, Old Dog Baking Company, West Street Cafe, Thrive Juice Bar and more businesses are doing ...


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." 

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.

  • Solarize MDI - Celebrating our success in November!
  • Municipal Energy Benchmarking
  • Expanding Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
  • Winter FarmDrop with Healthy Acadia
  • Youth Community Catalysts with MDI Schools 
  • Plastics in the Ocean Education
  • Best Sustainable Business Practices

Do you enjoy passionate discussions about clean energy, local food systems, zero waste, public policy, new transportation? Get involved in one of our exciting projects that arose from our six committees. Join us to help create the future that you envision for your family, your grandchildren, and future generations.

Contact us at to find out how you can help us or click here to see how you can reduce your carbon footprint.

“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)