BELFAST, Maine — Heidi Brugger wanted Mainers to connect the dots between changes around the state and climate change, so she made actual dots. On Saturday morning, 15 people lined up the side of Route 1 in Belfast, holding signs for Climate Impacts Day.
Brugger wrote out short poems and divided them into several signs, so drivers could read them on their morning drive.
One of the poems, spread out on big, brown dots along the highway, read:
“Deer ticks bite
They make us sick
Too darn quick
“Climate change is making an impact on people’s lives. It affects business and lifestyle in Maine. Like when kids go to play in the woods, now they have to get checked for ticks. Thirty years ago, we never checked for ticks — there were no ticks in Maine,” Brugger said.
Ticks die when the ground enters a deep freeze in the winter, but because Maine has had warmer winters, there have been more ticks, Brugger explained.
The event was part of Climate Impacts Day, a special day organized by 350.org, a website that pushes for awareness that 350 carbon parts per million is the amount the Earth’s atmosphere can safely contain. It currently contains 392 parts per million, according to the website.
Amy Kennedy, 22, of Unity, took a break from finals week at Unity College to hold a sign. Hers was part of a maple syrup poem, “Maple sap slows its drip of syrup. We barely get a lick. Climate change.”
“This is what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life — climate change activism,” said Kennedy, who will graduate next week with a degree in environmental policy. She got a job for a nonprofit in Boston working as an environmental activist.
Kennedy liked the Saturday morning protest because she said it connected extreme weather to climate change and to people’s daily lives.
“This resonates with people in Maine. They might see a lack of maple syrup, but this brings it to their attention with a focus on climate change,” she said, pausing to wave at cars that honked at her.
On the northbound side of the road, holding the “deer ticks bite” sign was Beverly Roxby. Roxby is a grandmother of two young boys and she worries about them inheriting a polluted, damaged planet.
“The public needs to be reminded that we care about this enough to stand outside on a dreary day and remind them,” Roxby said.