NORWAY – The Center for an Ecology-Based Economy will host dozens of climate activists Friday and Saturday to galvanize Mainers into taking action.

Bill McKibben

2020 Vision: Finding Hope in Climate Action is meant to offer people of all ages a means to learn more  about climate action and how to become more active in the movement, according to Executive Director Scott Vlaun.

He said it has taken seven years for the nonprofit organization to “build enough of a statewide network that we could have the capacity and connections to plan an event of this scale.”

While CEBE has hosted rallies and electric vehicle expos in the past, Vlaun said that they were half-day events.

“We have over 50 speakers and a huge list of sponsors that show the connections we’ve built over time,” Vlaun said. “It’s very exciting.”

Vlaun said renowned environmentalist Bill McKibben will speak at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, along with other youth activists, poets and performers.


“After Greta Thunberg, Bill is probably the most renowned climate activist around right now,” Vlaun said. “He started, an environmental organization meant to address climate change, and he wrote the first popular book on climate change about 30 years ago. He’s the man.”

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at the First Universalist Church at 497 Main St., people will have the chance to participate in a session called Skills For Action, featuring 20 workshops covering a range of topics, including climate science, digital tools for remote collaboration, grant writing, fundraising, how to organize global climate politics.

According to Vlaun, after Friday’s workshops, a public rally will be held at Longley Square, followed by a reception at Cafe Nomad on Main Street.

On Saturday, during a session called Finding Your Place, Building a Movement, participants will hear from keynote speaker Felipe Fontecilla, a Chilean global climate activist, and have a chance to participate in additional workshops focused on climate solutions in CEBE’s focus areas, such as food, shelter, energy and transportation.

Vlaun said he hopes people, by participating in the event, will “find a way to become active in the movement, on any level.”

“We realize that a lot of people are just waking up to the climate crisis,” Vlaun said. “A lot of us are also feeling overwhelmed, disheartened and depressed. Desperate times calls for desperate measures. 2020 is such a pivotal year, so a lot of us in the movement are stretching ourselves beyond our capacity.”

For more information on the event, call CEBE at 207-739-2101.

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