‘We have an opportunity to do better’

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Changes in our climate mean shorter, milder winters for Maine. As part of our ongoing climate conversations, the Bangor Daily News hosted a discussion last Thursday about how these changes can impact Maine.

The online conversation with University of Maine Climate Change Institute research assistant professor Sean Birkel, professor Jessica Leahy from the University of Maine’s School of Forest Resources, Appalachian Mountain Club research director Sarah Nelson, and New England Outdoor Center founder and owner Matthew Polstein was an interesting one that you can watch online.

One of the exchanges we’d like to highlight came in response to an audience question. The gist: If Maine winters are getting shorter and milder, isn’t that potentially a good thing? Does that make Maine a more attractive destination?

“I want personally to be offended and upset by climate change because it’s driven by man, and as someone who loves mother earth, I find that a bit of an affront. We have an opportunity to do better, we should be doing better,” Polstein responded, adding that he’s been reminded that Maine was covered by glacial ice as recently as 12,000-15,000 years ago, a relatively brief period in geologic time. “So we’re an environment that has seen dramatic upheaval in its climate and its landscape. I think we will survive it.”

Earlier in the event, Polstein discussed how more volatile and inconsistent conditions during the winter have led to adaptations at his business and in the Millinocket area generally, including having to improve and move trails for cross country skiing and snowmobiling. NEOC has also worked to diversify its winter recreation options, he said.

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