I grew up in central Maine, on a modest homestead surrounded by 22 acres of forest, with a stream winding through it.
From the time that I could walk, I spent more time outdoors than in. I would explore and play in the woods with my brother and our friends for as many hours as our parents would let us. We built forts, climbed trees, made bridges and dams, collected nuts and other “treasures,” and learned about our world with a voracious appetite.
In the winter, we made our own cross-country ski trails and followed animal tracks. In the spring, we tapped the trees and made maple syrup. In the summer, we weeded the garden and picked potato bugs (which my brother gleefully squished between two rocks).
We learned about the interconnectivity of life and, by extension, the way people are connected through community and a sense of place.
We learned that nothing exists in isolation, and what happens to one piece of an ecosystem affects all the pieces collectively.
We spent endless hours playing in the stream and learned that when you drop a stick in the water it doesn’t just magically disappear but floats away with the current.
That lesson has stuck with me, and it applies to everything we put into our water systems, our environment, and our atmosphere. But it also works as a clear demonstration of cause and effect over time — that what we do now in this moment will have a definite effect on our future.
I now choose to live and raise my family in Vermont, and I love our little state. Last Thursday, I traveled to Montpelier with Mother Up!: Families Rise Up for Climate Action, to push for statewide legislation to help curb climate change.
The greatest takeaway from our trip was that our state representatives want to hear from us! I know that Vermonters are not afraid of hard work or progress. We are not afraid to stick our necks out for what we believe in, and as a result we have gained a reputation as leaders.
Vermont was the first state to ban slavery almost 241 years ago, and the first state to legalize civil unions almost 18 years ago. What we enact here and now has the power to enable other states and regions in the future.
So be brave, Brattleboro, be bold! Vote yes on Tuesday, March 6, on the Australian ballot for the Town Meeting Day resolution to use 90-percent renewable energy by 2050.
Tell your representatives that you want to protect our future and our health, and to bring more industry and jobs to our state by investing in clean and renewable energy.
Tell our politicians to halt any new fossil-fuel infrastructure, and instead invest in infrastructure that will keep Vermonters healthy and employed for generations to come.
We all want a clean, healthy life for our children — let’s work together to make it happen.