The state house in Augusta was buzzing with young energy on Tuesday April 23rd. About 400 Maine youth from 20 schools—elementary, middle, and high school, and college—left school to demand that climate justice be a priority for all state lawmakers.
Photo credit: Susan Gatti
Maine Youth for Climate Justice (MYCJ), a new coalition that formed this year with energy from the youth climate strikes and Sunrise Movement, provided the platform for young people to take the lead on this day of action. Our role in 350 Maine is primarily to serve as adult allies. We take this commitment seriously, directly supporting MYCJ through our Youth Engagement Team and our partnership in the Maine Climate Action coalition.
350 Maine feels such gratitude and appreciation for all of the young people, teachers, parents and volunteers who made the Youth Day of Action possible—thank you! We look forward to standing by your side in the fight for climate justice, including policy changes in Maine right now that will give youth a better chance of a habitable and safe earth.
>> To join 350 Maine's Youth Engagement team or learn more about MYCJ, email firstname.lastname@example.org. <<
Through the work of an intergenerational team, 350 Maine is engaging young people in their sustainable futures and supporting their initiatives to address climate change. For more information on our youth engagement work, check out this page.
School Strikes for Climate
Inspired by the commitment and initiative of fifteen year-old Swedish student activist Greta Thunberg, who began a solitary school strike in front of the Swedish Parliament, five middle school students from the Friends School of Portland on Friday February 8th, left their school early to strike for climate justice. The five Friends School Students—all members of YELL [Youth Environmental Leaders League] for Climate Justice—handed out flyers identifying themselves and collected signatures in support of the Green New Deal. Their petition was addressed to Senator Susan Collins, urging support for the GND Resolution just placed before the U.S. Congress by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey. The students ended their strike by walking down to Sen.Collins’ Portland Office and personally delivering their petition.
March 15th Youth Climate Strikes
Students throughout Maine, many part of Maine Youth for Climate Justice, organized multiple actions on Friday March 15th in Maine, part of an international day of strikes for climate action. These young people ranged from elementary school to college students. 350 Maine's youth engagement team, along with many other intergenerational organizations, utilized their organizing resources to support these student organizers.
On Friday, hundreds to thousands of Maine youth walked out of their schools or workplaces across the state! Rallies were held in Bar Harbor, Lewiston, Brunswick, Portland, and Scarborough where young people gathered to chant, sing, and demand bold climate action. Smaller actions also occurred at many schools in Maine, including Cape Elizabeth High School, Kennebunk High School, Deering High School, Fryeburg Academy, and the Center for Teaching and Learning.
These strikes were part of a larger international movement where "more than 1 million students skipped school on Friday or protest government inaction on climate change," across 125 countries, according to the Guardian.
Portland rally, courtesy of Shawn Patrick Ouellette at the Portland Press Herald
To learn more, check out media coverage on the Maine strikes below or US Youth Climate Strike's website.
Let's Keep the Momentum Going
As we celebrate March 15th's success all across the world, it is important to make sure that the energy does not die and that this movement continues!
If you are a young person interested in joining the youth led climate justice movement in Maine that has worked to implement actions like this, contact our Youth Engagement Coordinator at email@example.com.
You can also continue to strike on Fridays, part of the Fridays for Future movement. Please contact 350 Maine if you need any support in organizing your own Friday strike or connecting with YELL for Climate Justice students who strike every other Friday in Portland.
Lewiston action, courtesy of Daryn Slover at the Sun Journal
>> To work on this campaign or any other, please join us or email firstname.lastname@example.org. <<
Please join us at any of the meetings and events hosted by 350 Maine groups! Some of our allies' events are also listed (RSVP may be required). You can click on the event for more information, including location and a contact for more details.
350 Maine is currently leading multiple campaigns aimed at addressing key components of the climate justice movement. Check out our Youth Engagement and 100% Campaign pages to learn more about our current initiatives, or scroll down to see our past ones.
350 Maine Past Campaigns
(A partial listing of our activities since 2012)
Youth Climate Strikes, supported by 350 Maine, occur throughout Maine
Thousands of young people and adult-allies walked out on March 15th to demand bold climate action as part of a larger international movement. Read more here.
Window Dressers Community Workshop in South Portland
Window Dressers Community Workshop in Machias
Candlelight Rally for #TrialoftheCentury
In support of #youthvgov plaintiffs in Juliana v. United States.
RISE for CLIMATE, JOBS and JUSTICE
350 Maine, Sierra Club Maine, Maine Conservation Voters, and the Maine Poor People's Campaign, led a march to a City Hall rally as part of a worldwide mobilization which took place days before the Global Climate Summit in San Francisco.
Maine Climate Protectors petition to the Department of Environmental Protection
Maine Youth and Voters get their hearing with the DEP.
Launch of 100% Clean Renewable Energy Campaign
People’s Climate Marches, Augusta and Washington D.C.
350 Maine organized art builds, bus-fills and supported members attending both marches.
Break Free (from fossil fuel) Albany, NY
350 New England joined 350 NY and NJ to stage a rally, march, and sit-in on railroad tracks to stop crude oil “bomb” trains rolling through Albany, NY endangering nearby communities and adding to the climate crisis.
Penobscot Nation – Justice for the River
In an on-going relationship with the Penobscot Nation, 350 Maine stands in solidarity in the fight to protect the nation’s river and subsistence fishing rights in the legal battle with the State of Maine. When asked to stand with them and Standing Rock in 2016, 350 Maine participated in several coalition sponsored events.
November and December 2015
Road through Paris:
Art Build and Rally, Portland: Painting signs with school children that were marched to a rally in Monument Square marking the opening of COP21
Jobs, Justice, Climate - March, Boston: In coalition with 350 NE, union, faith and other climate organizations, 350 Maine joined the rally and march on the Boston Common
350 Greater Portland formed
350 Maine joined the Sierra Club to organize the first Climate Action Team Conference in Brunswick.
People's Climate March, NYC
350 Maine organized biking and buses to bring Mainers to the march.
5th Annual Healing Walk in Alberta, Canada
350 Maine leaders wanted to connect the front line communities of Mobile, Alabama and Houston, Texas, affected by the tar sands infrastructure development, to the indigenous communities in Alberta affected by the pits and its infrastructure/pollution.
A broad coalition raised funds so the Americans could join the Healing Walk to be in solidarity with Indigenous peoples of Alberta. They witnessed the tar sands pits’ devastating impacts undermining their right to clean air, clean water.
Tar Sands Speaking Tour – 10 talks in ME, NH, VT, MA, Canada
The reversal of Portland Pipe Line Corporation’s pipeline to bring tar sands to South Portland was a threat to the city, but tar sands was a reality in Alberta. Working with a broad coalition of environmental organizations the Tar Sands Team chose to highlight this big picture to the region. They arranged presentations by First Nation Representatives (Athabasca Chipewyan and Beaver Lake Cree) of Canada and internationally awarded photographer.
Protect South Portland
Together with Protect South Portland and other environmental groups, 350 Maine backed a referendum against tar sands coming through Portland Pipe Line. Door-to-door and telephone canvassing; Hands-Across the Bridge and other large demonstrations took place.
Staged along with a flotilla of rafts and kayaks on Sebago Lake, street theater (on Route 302 in Raymond) of an ‘oil spill clean-up’ dramatized the threat posed by piped tar sands to Maine’s water supply.
Train Blockade - Fairfield, Maine
Activists blockaded train tracks in protest of Bakaan crude oil passing through to the New Brunswick oil refinery. 9 days later a similar oil train exploded in Lac Megantic, Quebec killing 47 people and destroying the downtown.
Working in coalition with others, 350 Maine organized Portland’s largest Climate Rally ever; sounding the alarm against tar sands coming from Montreal to South Portland through the Portland Pipe Line.
Bill McKibben Do the Math Tour
Standing room only at 350 Maine event at the State Theater in Portland.
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