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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. 


Listen to “How Mount Desert, Maine, residents helped double their island's solar capacity.”

Read full script here.

Youth Are Rising to Protect Their Future!

“What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!” On April 23, 2019, more than 400 young people and adult allies rallied at the State House to amplify and elevate youth voices and take a series of climate demands to elected officials.  Students from 28 schools - from elementary through college - made compelling speeches in front of the statehouse and met with the leaders of both houses, their own legislators, and administration officials, including the Governor, to learn about the law-making process and advocate for bold action.

"This is just the beginning of the engagement of young people to take control of their future and dramatically curtail climate catastrophe," said Gary Friedmann, one of A Climate to Thrive’s (ACTT) founders.  ACTT spearheaded a coalition of six statewide organizations called Maine Climate Action to support the organization of the Youth Day of Action and work for passage of legislation to make ACTT’s goal of energy independence by 2030 a statewide goal and remove obstacles to it’s achievement.

As ACTT has moved closer to achieving energy independence, it has encountered numerous regulatory and state policy barriers related to the electric grid that discourage widespread adoption of locally-generated solar energy.  In the spring of 2018, ACTT won grant funding for an initiative to formulate and legislate bold state energy policy that would unleash Maine's potential to address climate change through renewable energy technologies.

This Small Island is Taking on a Big Problem — Climate Change

by Tracy Staedter for Experience Magazine

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.


Expanding Summer Internships

Our summer internship program for MDI High School students and graduates has grown from two interns in 2017, to four in 2018 and now seven in 2019. This year MDIHS students, Isabella Childs Michael, Stella Walke, Thomas Korstanje, and Sirohi Kumar will be joined by graduates Griffin Maristany, and former student, Molly Brown. Sam Murray, an intern last year and senior at Wheaton College, will be returning as an Intern Supervisor. We are excited about the work they will do to advance ongoing ACTT energy and sustainability projects by meaningfully engaging the MDI community. $600 stipends were made possible by the Lynam Trust.

Small Businesses Can Save 75% on LED Install - Hurry - Deadline for signing up is May 31st

ACTT is working with Efficiency Maine to provide qualified Small Businesses on Mount Desert Island the opportunity to upgrade to new LED lighting at a significantly reduced cost.

If you’re a General Service electric customer (Rate Class B-1 as noted on your electric bill) on MDI, Efficiency Maine will pay 75% of the total upgrade cost for new LED lighting at your business.

Projects are designed to significantly improve quality of light, reduce lighting maintenance costs, and past participants are saving approximately $100/month or more. 

Upgrading lighting at your business is easy! Fill out this online form to signup for your freeno-obligation lighting assessment or click here to learn more.

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We Took Our Bold Vision to the Blaine House

Local State Representative, Brian Hubbell’s climate bill was signed into law on May 17, 2019, putting Maine on a path to triple in-state renewable energy generation and become a net exporter of renewable energy by 2030! Governor Mills signed the measure after presenting her bill to create the Maine Climate Change Council.

ACTT took its bold vision for energy independence by 2030 for MDI to the state of Maine last Fall. Working with Brian Hubbell and Speaker of the House, Sara Gideon, we planned and led two visioning meetings for crafting a new comprehensive clean energy policy for Maine. 

Over 30 state policy leaders and energy experts met at the Blaine House the week after election day to identify the building blocks of such a policy and develop a strategy for educating legislators and encouraging bipartisan support for bills that would remove obstacles and create incentives for new solar, wind, EV, and energy efficiency projects statewide.

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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.

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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.


Lodging Businesses Can Now Take the Sustainable MDI Pledge! 

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

We developed a local pledge program to reduce plastic waste and get food waste and compostable restaurant ware composted and 51 food businesses signed the pledge! This year, the pledge will include more actions for sustainability and is expanding to include lodging businesses.

The pledge is open to all food and lodging businesses on MDI. A Climate to Thrive provides information and organizational support. Click here to see the list of current pledgers.    

Please encourage your favorite businesses to join if they haven’t already!  Look for the Sustainable MDI decals on doors and windows. For more info, contact Jill Higgins, ACTT Co-Coordinator, 207-664-4040  


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

  • Reducing Plastics

  • Sustainable MDI

  • 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.


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!


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)

Thanks to the following organizations for their generous support.