Climate change activists spending week in Belfast

Posted July 20, 2012, at 4:30 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — For one week, Belfast has been home to a half-dozen college students who are spending the summer cycling around the state to spread the word about a cause that matters to them — climate change.

The students are from the internship program New England Climate Summer, and on Friday morning they were busy doing a community service project for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Belfast, where they have been staying while in the city.

Kristin Jackson, 21, of Falmouth, is an environmental studies major at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

“I’ve always been interested in activism, but I’ve never really taken a stand yet,” she said.

However, the nine weeks Jackson is spending biking from community to community with the program’s Maine team has been a great introduction to environmental activism.The six students from all over the country will spend a week each in Belfast, Rockland, Cumberland, York, Biddeford, Portland and Lewiston. While in Belfast, they helped with a “permablitz” at a home on the Woods Road, to assist the resident in turning the yard into a sustainable permaculture garden.

“We’ve learned so much,” Jackson said, adding that the group has been doing a lot of gardening work here. “It’s real life experience.”

Jane Dopheide of the Unitarian Universalist Church said that hosting the students is a good fit for the church.

“It really supports our interest in youth and also our interest in environmental issues,” she said. “The larger Unitarian Universalist organization asks churches to commit to things like recycling, not using paper products and promoting environmentally healthy practices and programs.”