Maine's 1st Annual Cool Congress a huge success!
On Saturday, October 3, 2009 over 100 Cool Community activists, state and town officials, students and business owners gathered in Augusta for Maine’s 1st Annual Cool Congress to participate in workshops, seminars, networking and exchanging of ideas, all aimed at reducing energy consumption and saving money in local communities.
In order to reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions and to include our neighbors to the north, the conference was broadcast live to FortKent and Presque Isle using interactive television technology (ITV). We are a big state, but we can still work together!
Among the panelists speaking in the day’s plenary session was Suzanne Watson, Director of Policy at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), John Kerry, Director of the Governor’s Office of Energy Independence and Security, Rhett Lamb, Planning Director for Keene, New Hampshire, Chris Wilhite, Executive Director of the Sierra Club Rhode Island Chapter, and Dale McCormick, Director of the Maine State Housing Authority. Bill McKibben, author, scholar, environmentalist and founder of 350.org gave the keynote address.
Workshops included such topics as organizing cool teams, local renewable energy projects, funding opportunities for municipalities, efficiency approaches for municipalities, green transportation planning for communities, local and regional planning for sustainability and how to conduct baseline carbon inventories, for example.
The congress was a huge success. Many participants followed up with the steering committee and thanked us for such a great event. Some even said they went directly to their town offices and told them how many wonderful things they had learned that day.
Many of the towns represented that day were Cool Communities, towns that have signed on to the U.S. Mayor’s agreement and have pledged to create and implement a Climate Action Plan for their town. Some representatives however, were not from Cool Communities and that is just as exciting. Our hope at Maine Partners for Cool Communities is that existing Cool Communities will take the information they gathered at the Congress and build upon the great work that has been done already in their towns, but also that we have encouraged new towns to join the effort.
Despite the stiff competition that day with the Maine Solar Tour and the Green Home and Living Show in Portland, the Cool Congress was in the media spotlight! That’s because our work at the community level is so important to climate change. Go to www.coolmaine.org to view all of the great press we received!
If you missed the event or you want to revisit the information you can view Bill McKibben’s keynote address, the plenary session and all of the workshop presenter’s wonderful slideshows at www.coolmaine.org
Thanks to everyone who came and made this year’s 1st Annual Cool Congress extraordinary. Keep up the great work because we are making a difference!