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Keeping Maine beautiful

The first flight I ever took was to Maine, at age seven. My dad sensed he would be getting laid off from our local paper mill, so we thought we would be relocating to Millinocket. We didn’t end up moving then, but I’m now pursuing my doctoral degree at the University of Maine.

As the daughter of a millwright laid off from a paper mill in Wisconsin, I’ve seen firsthand what mill closures do to towns. But Maine has what my hometown in Wisconsin didn’t: an abundance of beautiful, natural places that can be enjoyed and used sustainably, supporting new businesses. Unfortunately, urban sprawl, pollution and climate change are threatening the wild soul of Maine.

The vast majority of Mainers agree that the state’s unique lands and waters need to be protected. By protecting natural areas, we can support the outdoor economies of small towns while preserving access to prime hunting grounds and fishing spots. Protected forests can be sustainably harvested while serving as habitat to native wildlife and sequestering carbon pollution. Protecting 30 percent of Maine’s natural areas by 2030 would guarantee that future Mainers have access to the incredible wild places around us while supporting rural economic growth.

It is refreshing to see these 30×30 goals reflected in Maine’s climate action plan, but in order to achieve them, the Maine Legislature must fully fund the Land for Maine’s Future Fund. These investments are critical to keeping Maine beautiful and supporting our rural towns.

Ana Breit

Orono

Off the trail

I can hardly bear to open the back of the state section these days, for fear of yet another atrocity perpetrated on the Mark Trail comic strip by its new artist. Possibly she has updated the series the way the syndicate wanted, but I for one find it terrible.

The drawings are awkwardly rendered, almost as minimal sketches, not with the realistic artwork of a nature-oriented comic strip. Not only is the current plot nonsensical, but poor Mark is portrayed as an idiot. I would prefer old repeats or a new comic strip than this mess.

Susan Vaughan

Tenants Harbor

Susan Collins and climate action

An Oct. 26 contributing column in Bangor Daily News dismissed the progress being made by Maine leaders around climate change simply over partisan politics. Republicans around the state, including Sen. Susan Collins, understand that in Maine, the environment is the economy, and they have been fighting tirelessly to ensure both are strong and healthy.

As Mainers took to the ballot box to show their support for Collins, we are all reminded of the issues that are at the forefront of voters’ decisions in the election. Moving forward, however, leaders at both the local and federal level will fail to advance sound solutions that address climate change without an open and bipartisan dialogue on how sustainability and conservation can work to benefit individuals, businesses and families in Maine and across the nation.

Luckily, Collins is a champion for small businesses, which includes many members of the farming and agriculture industry who are supportive of implementing climate-friendly practices in their operations. She is also a climate champion as a member of the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus working to develop and deploy climate policies that will support Maine’s businesses, environment and economy.

Climate-smart solutions must be realistic to achieve our sustainability goals while balancing the economy that depends on various industries to support its success. Especially at a time like now when our nation is struggling with uncertainty and contempt, we should be encouraging more leaders to follow in Sen. Susan Collins’ footsteps and support climate solutions.

Aaron Kregenow

Augusta