Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

Common sense climate solution

As an environmental science major at the University of Maine, I have a focus on sustainability and natural resources management, which has led me to join the fight to mitigate climate change by protecting our lands and waters. Climate change is affecting all of us, but Maine is suffering more from its impacts than many other states.

We have so much to lose: the warming temperatures are dangerously affecting Maine’s lobster industry, and our shores are eroding with rising sea levels. Maine’s coasts and wild places are so important to our state’s identity, and also bring in economic revenue from tourism. We can’t afford to lose them.

One way we can prevent and slow down these impacts is through land and water preservation. We need to commit to protecting 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030. This is a reasonable goal that can have a huge impact: Maine already has approximately 21 percent of its land permanently conserved.

Like me, a strong majority of Mainers support this common sense, science-based solution. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King can champion this issue by cosponsoring the “Thirty by Thirty Resolution to Save Nature” in the U.S. Senate.

Michaela Wright

Orono

Mask enforcement not rocket science

This regards the BDN’s Nov. 28 reporting on hazard pay in Portland and Hannaford not enforcing mask policies. There are agencies at the state and federal level covering workplace safety. The same principle should apply to masks in the workplace. Business owners who allow unmasked customers in are failing to provide a safe workplace for employees.

My local Hannaford (Tradewinds) has become even more of a customer favorite because we know when we walk in we don’t have to worry about people not wearing masks. This is not rocket science.

Mary Offutt

Deer Isle

Defining Maine’s future

I am heartened by the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee’s recommendations to grow Maine’s economy by investing $200 million to develop entrepreneurship and innovation. Recommendations include investments in fisheries, improving internet access, supporting early care and education, creating affordable housing, putting $5.2 million toward early childhood education workforce development, and spending $1 million to devise a strategy to make Maine diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Of this list of admirable goals, early childhood education is called out twice. And for good reason. We simply must do a better job of getting it right for more of our youngest learners earlier in their lives. Educate Maine’s education indicators report shows us why. The report tells us that only 56 percent of Maine fourth-graders met or exceeded reading standards; and just 41 percent of fourth-graders met or exceeded state expectations in math. Achievement gaps are significant across grades and subjects for economically disadvantaged students, who comprised 42 percent of Maine’s student population in 2019. Gaps are also significant for students when looking at race/ethnicity.

By supporting early learners, we can unleash the potential of Maine’s future workforce. We also need to prioritize accessible and affordable education and training for working adults, invest in higher education programs and increase degree attainment, expand internships and enhance workforce supports for immigrants.

By doing this, we can establish Maine as a premier career, educationand lifestyle destination to attract diverse and talented professionals and their families to relocate here and define the state’s image beyond leisure and tourism.

Paul Bolin

Senior Vice President

Chief Human Resources Officer

Northern Light Health

Bangor