By Chloe Maxmin

Chloe Maxmin is a Junior at Harvard College and a co-coordinator of Divest Harvard. She founded First Here, Then Everywhere ( and is working with 350 Maine this summer. 

 I am an environmental activist because I love my home in Maine. I grew up and currently live on a farm in a small rural town. Maine’s trees, lakes, animals, and fields are at the center of my soul, and it breaks my heart to see my home buckle and break  under the weight of climate change.

350 Maine is a unique organization in the state.

Here’s why:

First, 350 Maine’s membership is all over the state, and the organization makes a concerted efforts to have chapters in Northern Maine–the less densely populated portion of the state. This differs from most other climate groups in Maine since they are based in the southern counties. 350 Maine is therefore a very accessible and inclusive group.

Secondly, 350 Maine (like all 350 state organizations) is truly committed to grassroots mobilization. 350 Maine is very young, but the network has grown due to networking, organizing, building relationships.

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And so 350 Maine undertook the task of organizing its first large event for Summer Heat. Our action focused on the Portland-Montreal Pipeline, which carries conventional oil from South Portland, Me to Montreal, Canada. There is a proposal to reverse the flow and pump tar sands from Canada to Maine. The dangers are numerous and potentially devastating. But one of the biggest threats is to Sebago Lake–Maine’s second largest lake, an economic, recreational, and cultural hub, and the drinking water source for ~15% of Maine’s population. The pipeline runs 300 yards from the lake.

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To raise awareness about the potential dangers of the flow reversal, we organized a road-side demonstration and a “flotilla” on Sebago Lake. The road-side demonstration occurred at a busy intersection that also happens to be next to the yellow pole that marks the pipeline’s closes proximity to Sebago Lake. Street theater simulated a tar sands spill, and 350 Maine members passed out educational information to drivers stuck in traffic.

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The flotilla on Sebago Lake was what we called “lake theater” and also simulated an oil spill. Dozens of people floated in black inner tubes in the water as a huge “pipeline” broke and spilled “oil” into the water. It was a powerful and unique way to raise awareness. It was also a testament to the creativity of 350 Maine’s team.


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The climate movement is at a critical stage. We’ve created an unprecedented amount of momentum in the past year, mainly through the divestment and anti-tar sands efforts. We know that these movements are making a difference, especially given Obama’s recent climate speech and his mention of Keystone XL and “divest.” But we need to keep the momentum going.

The moments where we mobilize our communities, educate, connect, and share are building the movement. From passing out cards on 302 to floating for a cause to the press coverage the follows–350 Maine is doing its part, and I am proud to be a part of it.