Maine: The Way Life Could Be 5/3/22: “Forever Chemicals”, Climate Change, and Maine Farmers & Gardeners

Producers/Hosts: Jim Campbell and Amy Browne
This series is made possible in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission

Welcome to this edition of Maine: The Way Life Could Be, a series in which we look at challenges and opportunities facing Maine in the lifetimes of people alive today.

In previous programs in this series, we looked at some of the possible effects of climate change on the way life could be in Maine in the not too distant future. Today, we look at some forces already at work today – climate change as well as the recent rediscovery of so-called “forever chemicals” in Maine soil and water – and what these forces may mean for people who grow food, both as professional farmers and as backyard gardeners.

We asked Sarah Alexander, the Executive Director of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) and John Jemison Professor of Soil and Water Quality with the Cooperative Extension at the University of Maine what impacts Maine farmers and gardeners might expect to see in their lifetimes from “forever chemicals” and climate change.

To learn more about the health risks associated with PFAS chemicals, be sure to check the WERU archives for the Healthy Options show from April 6th entitled: “The serious problems of PFAS ‘forever chemicals’”. Host Rhonda Feiman’s guest was Patrick MacRoy, Deputy Director of DEFEND OUR HEALTH, a public health organization based in Portland, that has been working on the issue. There are also good resources for learning more about PFAS chemicals on the University of Maine Cooperative Extension web site and on the website of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

About the hosts:

Jim Campbell has a longstanding interest in the intersection of digital technology, law, and public policy and how they affect our daily lives in our increasingly digital world. He has banged around non-commercial radio for decades and, in the little known facts department (that should probably stay that way), he was one of the readers voicing Richard Nixon’s words when NPR broadcast the entire transcript of the Watergate tapes. Like several other current WERU volunteers, he was at the station’s sign-on party on May 1, 1988 and has been a volunteer ever since doing an early stint as a Morning Maine host, and later producing WERU program series including Northern Lights, Conversations on Science and Society, Sound Portrait of the Artist, Selections from the Camden Conference, others that will probably come to him after this is is posted, and, of course, Notes from the Electronic Cottage.

Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices, Maine Currents and Maine: The Way Life Could Be, Amy also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and Maine Association of Broadcasters awards for her work in 2017 and 2021.

Maine: The Way Life Could Be 4/5/22: Climate Change in Our Lifetime, Part 2 of 2

Producers/Hosts: Jim Campbell and Amy Browne
With assistance from Ann Luther and Matt Murphy
This series is made possible in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission:

In a previous program, we began looking at the effects of Climate Change on life in Maine, now and in the future, a topic that almost everyone mentioned who participated in our interest gathering efforts.

Maine is the oldest state in the country, both in median age and in percentage of those over 55, but the people who are going to be dealing with the effects of Climate Change the longest are younger people. And climate change seems to be affecting many of them already.

In December of 2021, The Lancet Planetary Health journal published the results of a survey of 10,000 people ages 16 to 25 year in ten countries. The authors found that “Respondents across all countries were worried about climate change (59% were very or extremely worried and 84% were at least moderately worried). More than 50% reported each of the following emotions: sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless, and guilty. More than 45% of respondents said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning, and many reported a high number of negative thoughts about climate change (eg, 75% said that they think the future is frightening and 83% said that they think people have failed to take care of the planet). Respondents rated governmental responses to climate change negatively and reported greater feelings of betrayal than of reassurance.”

On today’s program, we talk with several younger people in Maine about their attitudes and expectations of the effects of climate change on their future. We spoke with two pairs of high school students. We will hear first from Joey and Edge, who are from two different schools in Washington County. We’ll follow that conversation with one with Grace and Sophia, who are from the Mount Desert Island area of Hancock County.

Finally, we hear from Hazel Stark, a Millennial, Registered Maine Guide, naturalist educator and cofounder of the Maine Outdoor School. She also hosts the Saturday morning short feature, The Nature of Phenology, here on WERU, co-produced with Joe Horn. The resources Hazel mentions include: iNaturalist , eBird , and Budburst She also recommends UMaine’s Signs of the Seasons: A New England Phenology Program and the USA National Phenology Network

FMI:

Maine’s Climate Future 2020 – a University of Maine report authored by Ivan Fernandez, Sean Birkel, Catherine Schmitt, Julia Simonson, Brad Lyon, Andrew Pershing, Esperanza Stancioff, George
Jacobson, and Paul Mayewski.

Scientific Assessment of Climate Change and Its Effects in Maine, by the Maine Climate Council Scientific and Technical Subcommittee

Inaction on Climate Change is Taking a Toll on Young People’s Mental Health, Brennan Center for Justice

Climate anxiety in children and young people and their beliefs about government responses to climate change: a global survey, The Lancet, Caroline Hickman, MSc, Elizabeth Marks, ClinPsyD, Panu Pihkala, PhD, Prof Susan Clayton, PhD, R Eric Lewandowski, PhD,Elouise E Mayall, BSc
et al.

About the hosts:

Jim Campbell has a longstanding interest in the intersection of digital technology, law, and public policy and how they affect our daily lives in our increasingly digital world. He has banged around non-commercial radio for decades and, in the little known facts department (that should probably stay that way), he was one of the readers voicing Richard Nixon’s words when NPR broadcast the entire transcript of the Watergate tapes. Like several other current WERU volunteers, he was at the station’s sign-on party on May 1, 1988 and has been a volunteer ever since doing an early stint as a Morning Maine host, and later producing WERU program series including Northern Lights, Conversations on Science and Society, Sound Portrait of the Artist, Selections from the Camden Conference, others that will probably come to him after this is is posted, and, of course, Notes from the Electronic Cottage.

Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices, Maine Currents and Maine: The Way Life Could Be, Amy also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and Maine Association of Broadcasters awards for her work in 2017 and 2021.

Maine: The Way Life Could Be 3/1/22: Climate Change in Our Lifetime, Part 1 of 2

Producers/Hosts: Jim Campbell and Amy Browne
With assistance from Ann Luther and Matt Murphy
This series is made possible in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission:

When we asked Mainers to weigh in on the most important issues facing the state in their lifetimes, climate change was at the top of the list for many. Our March and April shows will feature the voices of Mainers – from town planners to academics to community activists of all ages who are working on the issue.

Today we hear from Dr. Ivan Fernandez, Distinguished Professor at the University of Maine in the School of Forest Services, part of the University’s Climate Change Institute, and a member of the state government’s Maine Climate Council ; Kathleen Billings, Stonington Town Manager; Anne Krieg, Bangor Planning Officer; Jim Fisher, Deer Isle Town Manager; Sherri Mitchell, member of the Penobscot Nation, an attorney with a focus on Indigenous Issues, an author and international speaker. Sherri is also the Founding Director of the Land Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to the global protection of Indigenous land and water rights and the preservation of the Indigenous way of life. Sherri has been a frequent guest on WERU over the years, and was the host of the Love (and Revolution) podcast that was aired by the station; and a brief comment from Grace, a high school student that we’ll hear more from in April.

What do YOU think the impact of climate change will be on Maine in your lifetime? Record a brief comment at www.weru.org or send us an email at [email protected] and we may use your comment on an upcoming show.

FMI:

Maine’s Climate Future 2020 – a University of Maine report authored by Ivan Fernandez, Sean Birkel, Catherine Schmitt, Julia Simonson, Brad Lyon, Andrew Pershing, Esperanza Stancioff, George
Jacobson, and Paul Mayewski.

Scientific Assessment of Climate Change and Its Effects in Maine, by the Maine Climate Council Scientific and Technical Subcommittee

Inaction on Climate Change is Taking a Toll on Young People’s Mental Health, Brennan Center for Justice

Climate anxiety in children and young people and their beliefs about government responses to climate change: a global survey, The Lancet, Caroline Hickman, MSc, Elizabeth Marks, ClinPsyD, Panu Pihkala, PhD, Prof Susan Clayton, PhD, R Eric Lewandowski, PhD,Elouise E Mayall, BSc
et al.

About the hosts:

Jim Campbell has a longstanding interest in the intersection of digital technology, law, and public policy and how they affect our daily lives in our increasingly digital world. He has banged around non-commercial radio for decades and, in the little known facts department (that should probably stay that way), he was one of the readers voicing Richard Nixon’s words when NPR broadcast the entire transcript of the Watergate tapes. Like several other current WERU volunteers, he was at the station’s sign-on party on May 1, 1988 and has been a volunteer ever since doing an early stint as a Morning Maine host, and later producing WERU program series including Northern Lights, Conversations on Science and Society, Sound Portrait of the Artist, Selections from the Camden Conference, others that will probably come to him after this is is posted, and, of course, Notes from the Electronic Cottage.

Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices, Maine Currents and Maine: The Way Life Could Be, Amy also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and Maine Association of Broadcasters awards for her work in 2017 and 2021.

Maine: The Way Life Could Be — DEBUT! 2/1/22

Producers/Hosts: Jim Campbell and Amy Browne
With assistance from: Ann Luther, Matt Murphy, Scott Byrd and Pepin Mittelhauser

This new series is made possible in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission:

Travelers entering Maine on the Maine Turnpike from the south are greeted by a sign that says Maine: The Way Life Should Be. Assuming for a moment that is true today, we wondered what would make it true in the future.

There are a lot of challenges – and perhaps opportunities – that will affect what life is like in Maine in the not too distant future, the future that people listening right now will probably see in their lifetimes. We decided to take a look at some of those challenges and opportunities, and get some ideas about what Life Could Be in Maine in the future – hence the name of the program series.

Of course, that bought up the question of just what are the most important challenges facing Maine now that will extend into the future. We had some ideas but we needed to find out what ideas others had about that question to enable us to identify topics for the programs in the series. So we asked.

Regular WERU listeners may recall recently hearing an invitation on the WERU airwaves to attend a video conference call, and to share their ideas about important challenges facing our state that will affect our common future – and that will help us to know what topics future programs in the series should include.

More than 25 people joined that videoconference, and many offered their ideas and concerns about important issues we will need to address if we want Maine to remain a place where we want to live in the future. We’ll hear from some of those who shared their ideas during that video conference first. Later in the program, we’ll hear from three people in our listening area working in local government– whose job it is to not only take care of today’s local needs, but also to plan to deal with the needs of tomorrow. We’ll get some of their ideas about what issues we will have to address going forward.

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