Down to Earth at the State House

On Wednesday January 9, Charlie Hudson and Andy Burt joined volunteers from the Sierra Club Maine Chapter to deliver Down to Earth’s new film “Maine Roadtrip to the Future” to every Maine legislator and the governor, along with a complementary tabloid produced by the Maine Chapter. The two resources contain stories and background information about Maine “solutionaries” across the state who are at work building the resilient communities they want to live in…Solar on rooftops, gardens and greenhouses, new modes of clean transportation, heat pumps and solar hot water, food waste models, etc. In a 14-minute tour in the film, photos and interviews showcase innovative fossil-fuel free housing, promising research for restoring ocean health while building new business possibilities, permaculture ideas for schools…and more.

Being at the legislature it was exciting to know that the solutions that the film and tabloid documented will be a focus for public policies that Maine lawmakers will be discussing and voting on this session.

Down to Earth will report on legislation here that has relevance to mitigating and/or adapting to the climate change emergency. We are hopeful that many concerned Mainers will come to Augusta to testify at public hearings on the bills.

Andy is creator of the Down to Earth Storytelling Project and film producer. Charlie Hudson has done the videography and film editing on four films the project has produced.

Andy Burt presents a Building Thriving Communities bag containing the film, tabloid and other climate change information to Governor Janet Mills’ communications director, Scott Ogden.

Discussing the new “Roadtrip” film with her state representative Holly Stover, Andy points out how kelp research happening in Rep. Stover’s district and elsewhere is demonstrating the many benefits the marine plant has for Maine’s shellfish industry.



The Down to Earth Storytelling Project, in partnership with Sierra Club Maine, is launching a film project and needs your help.

Working with Maine environmental and social change groups, businesses and individuals like you, we want to collect photographs of climate solutions taking root across Maine — home by home, community by community.  DEADLINE for photos: February 15

The photographs will be put together into a fast-paced, 5-minute film that can be widely shared with the general public and elected officials through YouTube and DVDs. We believe that showcasing the sustainability revolution that is already underway in Maine can change hearts and provide hope and inspiration to others to take action in their own lives and communities. Our effort is designed as well to inform and inspire elected leaders to introduce and support efforts that will build a just, compassionate and environmentally sustainable Maine community and economy.


 Take and/or email high quality photographs that depict climate solutions from your area.

  • Photos might show a community solar farm, residential pv or solar heat system, municipal solar installation, community wind, community gardens, front lawn vegetable garden, innovative energy efficiency/renewable energy production projects, alternative transportation projects such as bike trails, trolleys, trains, electric cars/bikes, electric charging stations, etc.
  • Photos should ideally be high resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels or higher but twice that size would be even better for the videographer to work with). Basically the bigger the picture, the better!  If you take a picture of a unique solution that is not as high quality, DTE may still be able to use it. Can be sent by Dropbox.

Email photos to DTE at Include in email the name of the town & county where the photo was taken. If you can provide more background information about the photo…even a short paragraph or story that could be included in the handout that will accompany the film…that would be a bonus. And please include your name so we can give you credit for your photograph(s).

Key Communities where we are especially lacking photos and would love your help!!!

Androscoggin….Greene and Auburn; Aroostook…Eagle Lake, Caribou, Presque Isle, Hodgton; Cumberland…Windham, Scarborough,  Gray, Raymond, Naples; Franklin…Farmington, Weld,  Wilton; Hancock….Hancock, Dedham; Kennebec…Augusta, China; Lincoln….Dresden; Oxford…Dixfield, Hiram; Penobscot…Dexter, Lincoln, Orrington; Piscataquis….Dover-Foxcroft, Guilford; Somerset…Fairfield, Pittsfield Norridgewock, Athens; Waldo…Searsport, Winterport; Washington…East Machias, Machias

Questions or more information: contact Andy Burt at or call 207-380-5387.

Legal Update: Clear Skies Ordinance

Clear Skies Ordinance
Update on Court Case

As you probably know, once the city of South Portland passed with overwhelming support the Clear Skies Ordinance (CSO), the oil industry, as expected, filed a lawsuit. The lawsuit is still in the courts.

The following is our best attempt to describe where things are with the lawsuit at present. At the end, you will find suggestions of things you can do now!

Legal Update

The attorneys for the City of South Portland had submitted a motion to the court to dismiss the case, contending that the case was not “ripe”, in effect that there was really no case. This was based on evidence presented by the city’s expert witness that there is not a supply of diluted bitumen (tar sands oil) available to Portland Pipeline (PPL) for transport from Canada to South Portland. During the hearing the CEO of the PPL admitted under cross examination that the Pipeline had misled the citizens of South Portland in a letter sent to the residents asserting that they had no plan to transport tar sands oil to South Portland. He further admitted that, had the City not declared a moratorium immediately after the WPO (Waterfront Protection Ordinance) was defeated, they would have proceeded at once with their project. In spite of this, and in spite of the City’s expert witness’ testimony, Judge Woodcock did not rule in favor of the City’s motion to dismiss.

The case is now expected to proceed for consideration of the allegations by the Portland Pipeline brought against the city for passing the Clear Skies Ordinance – for example, the allegation that the ordinance violates federal authority over interstate commerce. The attorneys for the City of South Portland argue their position that the toxic fumes generated by this potential project would be unhealthy for our air.

Both parties submitted written briefs to the court a few months ago to get the judge to decide the case (in that party’s favor) without the need for a trial. The judge may hold a hearing on the motions for summary judgment, at which point the lawyers will argue the issue in person. If he does hold a hearing, it is likely that he is very far along in his opinion and just giving parties a final opportunity to make some points or to answer any questions he may have. At this time, a date for that hearing has not been set.

Sometime after the hearing, the judge will issue a ruling. It is also possible that the court will not hold a hearing on the motions for summary judgment, and that he could issue an opinion without hearing further argument. The ruling of the judge will either grant summary judgment in favor of a party, or require the parties to go to trial.

What You Can Do to Help
1.Write letters to the editor at the Sentry or The Forecaster to show support for the Clear Skies Ordinance and the work of the City Council and the city’s legal team in defending the future of our city.
The Sentry –
The Forecaster –

2. Write emails to all the city councilors thanking them for their continuing efforts to defend the Clear Skies Ordinance in the lawsuit in order to protect the future health of our city.
Patti Smith –
Linda Cohen –
Maxine Beecher –
Sue Henderson –
Eben Rose –
Claude Morgan –
Brad Fox –

3. Donate to the Clear Skies Legal Fund – (there is a donation link on
This is a way to help with the cost of the lawsuit, but also to let the city council know that they continue to have the support of the people to continue standing up to the oil industry!

~ Meg Braley and the Protect South Portland Team

G.R.O.W. (GrassRoots Organizing Workshops) Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 2017

14th Annual

GROW (GrassRoots Organizing Workshops)

New England Weekend

September 29 – October 1, 2017

**Strategies for Lasting Social Change**


Learn about organizing, enjoy beautiful surroundings and healthy food, network with old friends and meet new ones with similar interests.

Workshops this year will focus on how to strategize to build lasting and impactful grassroots campaigns. Workshops this year include:

-Strategy Development/Crafting a Campaign Plan

-Centering Directly Affected Communities

-Influencing Public Policy

-Theater of the Oppressed

-Organizing Democratically

-Building Diverse Groups/Coalitions

-Grassroots Organizing 101

***Click here to register and reserve your spot!***

For more information contact Sass Linneken at 207-607-2571, or


EXXON KNEW: Maine Petition delivered to Attorney Janet Mills

On Earth Day a small band of activists presented Attorney Janet Mills with the first 450 signatures on the petition asking her to join with other states’ Attorneys General to investigate Exxon. Let’s show her that Mainers want her to look into the biggest crime in living history – knowingly destroying all life on Earth for a few pieces of silver (actually billions of dollars!). Watch the video and then sign the petition below. Thanks!

EXXON KNEW: Maine Petition


Fort McMurray residents flee in the largest fire evacuation in Alberta’s history

Hilary Clark, one of the storytellers in the Down to Earth film, shares her 2014 summer experience doing the Healing Walk organized by First Nations Peoples in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, where dirty tar sands is being mined and poisoning the land and water. Video of that powerful walk appears with her commentary in the film. For the last two days a wildfire has raged in the Fort McMurray area, where temperatures in the drought-stricken area have reached more than 90 degrees F resulting in evacuation of more than 80,000 local residents. Here’s a link to the story:

A wall of fire rages outside of Fort McMurray on Tuesday May 3, 2016. TERRY REITH / THE CANADIAN PRESS