Forum promotes clean energy discussion


LEWISTON — The future is in clean energy — and the U.S. lags behind other countries, according to speakers at a Bates College forum Saturday.

Speakers from Repower America, the Alliance for Climate Education and the Sierra Club urged high school and college students to get involved and push for clean energy investment.

“There is only one  solution that is going to work big-time, that’s really going to create the change we need in the time we need it,” said Colin Beckman of Repower Maine. “It’s changing policy, changing law. Changing what’s written, the guidelines for our country to follow.”

About 40 people, including high school students from Portland’s Deering High School and Learning Works, listened to presentations about energy economics and their impacts.

Beckman outlined three reasons clean energy is important: potential climate change, jobs and economy and energy politics. It all ties together, he said.

“We are in a bad economy now, and we need to re-evaluate how we make things of value in this country,” he said. “It’s going to be very hard to for us to get out of the situation we’re in without new ideas and innovation. Maine has lost many of our paper mills and we need to figure out a way to get those back.”

Joan Saxe of the Maine Sierra Club, said other countries have taken notice. She attended the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, last year and was surprised by how involved students from other countries were.

“They were there every day, being part of the whole process and just demanding more from the adults,” she said. “One group had a sign up, ‘How old will you be in 2050,’ and the adults really took notice of that. They know that they’re not going to be around, so they need to do something quickly.”

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