A Climate to Thrive is an initiative of and for the communities of Mount Desert Island.


Gary Friedmann, Chair - Bar Harbor. President of Gary Friedmann & Associates, a statewide nonprofit development consultancy that has served almost 200 community-based organizations since 1992.  A lifelong environmental activist, including many years of service as a member and Chair of the Bar Harbor Conservation Commission, Gary currently serves as Vice Chair of the Bar Harbor Town Council, through which he conceived and guided the photovoltaic installation that powers the Town's Public Works, and the state's first municipally-sponsored Community Solar Farm.  As President of Maine Citizens for Clean Elections he has led efforts to strengthen publicly-funded campaigns and elevate the voices of everyday citizens in government.  As Treasurer of Friends of Baxter State Park, Gary has been instrumental in efforts to preserve, support, and enhance the wilderness character of Baxter State Park.

Dennis Kiley, Vice Chair - Mount Desert. Therapist in private practice; counselor at College of the Atlantic; member of the Planning Board, Town of Mount Desert; member of the Town of Mount Desert Sustainability Committee

John Craigo, Secretary - Bar Harbor. Physical therapist, Mount Desert Island Hospital; former member of the boards of Healthy Acadia, MDI YMCA, and Kids Corner Community Day Care Center

Emily Beck – Tremont. Partner, Young Beck LLP, concentrating in land conservation, business and non-profit law; member of the Board and Executive Committee and co-chair of the Resource Protection Committee of Friends of Acadia; member of MDI Committee of Maine Coast Heritage Trust

Gordon Beck - Gordon Beck - Mount Desert. President, Beck Communications, LLC; television sports consultant and copy editor.  Former Senior Vice President of USA Network Sports / NBC Universal. Member of the Town of Mount Desert's Sustainability Committee, Warrant Committee,  and Northeast Harbor Village Center Planning Committee.

Johannah Blackman - Mount Desert. Assistant Artistic Director, New Surry Theatre & Performing Arts School. 

Lisa Bjerke - Bar Harbor. MPhil candidate, College of the Atlantic; 2013/14 Watson Fellow; COA Discarded Waste Manager

Ken Colburn - Bar Harbor. Principal at the Regulatory Assistance Project advising energy and environmental regulators across the U.S. and internationally. Former Air Director at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services; frequent author and speaker on energy, air quality, and climate issues, including presentations at UNFCCC annual meetings, testifying before Congressional committees, and numerous technical and policy papers.

Glenon Friedmann - Bar Harbor. Farmer at Bar Harbor Community Farm; former County Coordinator for Women, Work & Community; former Chair of Mount Desert Island School Committee; B.S. in Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic.  Manages organic farm with 150 members, with focus on sustainable agricultural practices; 30 years of experinece in leadership training organization, interested in engaging working class people to tackle environmental and economic issues facing the Mount Desert Island community.

Ruth Poland - Bar Harbor. Science teacher at Mount Desert Island High School.  B.S. in Environmental Studies with experience in carbon footprint and energy monitoring work.  Major interests are school-based initiatives incorporating students in action around climate-change and energy conservation efforts that make island living more economically and environmentally feasible.

Richard Sassaman - Bar Harbor. Writer/photographer for hundreds of articles in six dozen different periodicals ranging from Air & Space/Smithsonian to Yankee, including American Heritage, The Christian Science Monitor, Solar Age, and Sports Illustrated; former radio talk show host, Bar Harbor Beat, WMDI-FM; editor, designer for Ecotope (Seattle, WA), including A Solar Water Heater Workshop Manual, A Solar Greenhouse Guide for the Pacific Northwest, and a six-module training course for solar energy auditors; member editorial board, Harrisburg (PA) Independent Press



Project Coordinator

Joe Blotnick - Bar Harbor. Founder of Team New England, Leadership Development Consultants; former University of Maine Extension Agent, Director, University of Rhode Island Environmental Education Center, and Peace Corps volunteer.




The bulk of A Climate to Thrive's work takes places through our six committees. Each committee is focused on a component that threads into the general goal of energy independence by 2030. Read about the committees and how to get involved at their individual pages.