An Atlantic puffin comes in for a landing on Eastern Egg Rock, a small island off the coast of Maine, July 21, 2019. The Atlantic puffin, Maine's iconic seabird, suffered one of their worst years for reproduction in decades during the summer of 2021, due to a lack of the small fish they eat. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

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Responding to climate change effectively will require greater use of clean energy and other steps to curb emissions. It will also require addressing the climate impacts already at our doorstep — including more extreme weather, flooding, wildfires, and other consequences.

Here in Maine, we have seen firsthand how environmental instability can affect our economy and way of life. For example, nor’easters like the ones from the last few weeks are certainly not uncommon throughout our state’s history, but the severity and damage-related costs they have been inflicting recently are. More power outages, greater flooding, and even worse potholes are all on the menu if we choose to settle for inaction.

For this reason, I’m grateful to Sen. Susan Collins for cosponsoring the recent  National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act. This bipartisan step will improve the country’s ability to respond to environmental impacts. Instead of the messy approach that exists now — with different agencies not communicating with others — this new proposal will increase coordination and reduce costs. All told, this will help better protect Mainers, especially communities on the frontlines of natural disasters and other climate effects.

Preserving Maine’s natural environment is incredibly meaningful for my generation. That’s why I so appreciate Collins’ focus on concrete climate solutions. With this new legislation and other needed measures to come — especially border-adjusted carbon pricing — we can protect the state we’re blessed to call home.

Peter Alexander

Orono