Remember last year when Portland declared a climate emergency? It was a profound step in Maine’s movement for climate justice, and it followed the tremendous effort made by thousands of middle and high school students going on a “climate strike” to demand that the city take action. It may feel like a distant past, but the climate emergency remains as critical as ever — and there’s a lot more action we need to take if we’re going to achieve the important goal of carbon-neutral by 2030.
As it goes, not all of our public servants remember the urgency with which our youth demanded action. At a recent Planning Board meeting, I asked whether Portland’s declaration of a climate emergency would impact how they evaluate a British company’s proposal to build a new “cold storage” facility on our waterfront. In response, they said that last year’s climate declaration was “aspirational,” but that it carried no regulatory burden — meaning climate impact would not factor into their analysis at all.
As a citizen of Portland, I don’t know if there’s anything more I can do to encourage the Planning Board to consider climate impact in their decisions. But as a candidate for State Representative, I can guarantee that climate impact would shape mine. I’ll stay connected to the young people demanding action, and I’ll keep our climate future in mind with every decision I make.
I’m running for State Representative to make sure Augusta doesn’t forget about the climate emergency. I’ll remember the voices of our youngest citizens every day that I’m their representative, and I’ll keep following their lead in this fight to keep our future within 1.5 degrees Celsius of average global warming. I won’t just vote ‘yes’ on climate action, I’ll use my platform to push our legislature towards taking the kind of action on transportation and energy that’s big enough and fast enough to make a difference before time runs out.
I joined this race because I believe it’s up to all of us to fight for our future. I’ve been a member of 350 Maine — a community action group that supports youth-led climate activism — as well as the Portland Climate Action Team. When asked at the Portland Democratic Forum which issue I would prioritize in Augusta, I said I’d put our climate future first. Now, I’m honored to have received Sierra Club’s first-choice endorsement as their number-one recommended candidate for District 38.
On the day of the Presidential Primary back in March, I joined a group of our youngest citizens gathering outside Portland City Hall to ask that voters consider our climate future when they cast their ballot. Now as we decide our next State Representative in this July 14 Primary Election, I ask that you remember the urgency of our youngest citizens fighting for their future. I’m certainly going to put them first, and I hope you’ll join many of our neighbors — and the Sierra Club — in ranking me first as well.
Learn more at CharlesForPortland.com