Projected sea level rise by 2050 would put Bug Light lighthouse in South Portland underwater oby 2050. Credit: Troy R. Bennett

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Like most families, first day of school pictures were a yearly tradition at my house. I grew up in Cumberland, and my love for Maine kept me in state for college. Now, I take photos with friends on the first day of classes and text them to my parents.

Looking through our photo albums, we have unintentionally documented Maine’s changing climate. My mom grew up in Cape Elizabeth and wore wool; early September was when you could first feel the chills of fall. My sister and I wore shorts and associated the start of school with the hottest days of summer. Across two generations, climate change’s impacts are tangible.

Rising temperatures are not the only changes in Maine over the past decades. They come with things like increased  flooding, storms, and rising sea levels. Climate change has and will continue to have devastating human and environmental health impacts.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the  largest climate action package in our nation’s history last fall, with investments to promote a swift transition to clean energy and provide security for Mainers long into the future. Now the Senate must act to pass this reconciliation package that prevents the worst consequences of climate change. Join me in calling Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to urge them to do all that they can to pass this critical package.

I don’t want to wonder what the first day of school will look like for my children.

Terra Gallo