On Saturday, Maine Students For Climate Justice (MSCJ) will hold a rally in Augusta to draw attention to issues of climate change and to pressure lawmakers to ensure that Maine’s economic development is environmentally sustainable. MSCJ is demanding that the the state of Maine refrain from building any new fossil fuel infrastructure.

At the time of publication, an estimated 500 students from across the state of Maine are expected to gather in front of the Capitol Building in Augusta. Forty students from the College are expected to attend. 

This rally comes a week after Bowdoin Climate Action (BCA), a primary member of MSCJ, ended its sit-in for fossil fuel divestment on the second floor of Hawthorne-Longfellow Hall outside President Barry Mills’s office. 

While Bowdoin students from BCA, Green Bowdoin Alliance,and Sustainable Bowdoin are among the primary organizers for the rally in Augusta, MSCJ is a state-wide alliance. Other participating institutions of higher education include Colby College, Bates College, the University of Maine, and Unity College.

Michael Butler ’17, a member of BCA and MSCJ, is the master of ceremonies for the event.
“All these different schools are coming together and are basically calling on Governor [Paul] LePage to seriously address climate change,” said Butler. “He is such a symbol of climate denialism.”

While anyone is invited to attend the rally, Butler expects most of those in attendance to be college students.

“[The name of the rally is] called Generation Climate Rising, so it’s very focused on our generation— the power that we have to make a change,” said Julia Berkman-Hill ’17.
Organizers of the event will be hosting a press conference in the morning and will proceed to march through Augusta, from the Capitol Building to the governor’s mansion, the Blaine House. 

“There’s been nothing like this in a very long time and it’s certainly going to galvanize the conversation in Maine,” said Butler. 

“There’s going to be a large group of high school students from the Portland area,” said University of Southern Maine student organizer Iris SanGiovanni. “We’ve got buses leaving from Portland, Ellsworth, and Bangor.”

SanGiovanni, who will be liaising between Maine Students for Climate Justice and local police forces, explained that there are no planned arrests for Saturday and that the event is largely to galvanize support. 

“We’re here for the long haul, we’re committed, we’re prepared to work with legislators and if things don’t start moving forward, we’re prepared to also escalate,” she said.