Biddeford Students March For Change


Seniors Addison Moore, Maggie Behen, and Madison Arnold attend the climate change rally in Portland on March 15. Submitted photo.

Alexis Thompson, Staff Member

Portland, Maine – Three students from Biddeford High School joined with hundreds of other students to voice their views on the impacts of climate change on March 15.

Students from across Maine joined together in Portland to show the community that change needs to happen and fast. Biddeford students Madison Arnold, Addison Moore and Maggie Behen went prepared with signs demonstrating what climate change really does to the Earth.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency put out reports in 2016 state that risks of global warming were starting to hit the world at alarming rates. They indicated that days are getting increasingly warmer and are tending to not “cool down” during the nights. The effects this has here in Biddeford High School now is that, as the younger generation, the students are the key to combating climate change.

“I am passionate about climate change, because it is a real problem that the world’s population should be dealing with,” said Addison Moore. “So many people are not realizing it. If we don’t speak up about it, no one will.”

Moore, a senior, shares her view on the importance of speaking up about climate change by recognizing that not everyone is informed and that’s why it’s so necessary for those who have the knowledge to use their voice.

“I am extremely passionate about climate change because its effects are so detrimental to all current and future generations. There is no future without fighting climate change,” said Maggie Behen.

Similarly, Behen is trying to get use her voice to show the future won’t be a green one without a fight.

“What truly first sparked my interest would be my interest in politics and the world around me. As I did more research, I found that we only have 12 years left to avert dangerous climate change,” said Madison Arnold. “I knew that we needed to take action and have our voices heard, as this is our future.”

The common ground between the three senior activists is their hope that people will come together to fight for their future.

“Personally, I am a pescatarian. This means I eat no meat except for fish, and this helps reduce heat emissions on earth along with other benefits. I also use reusable containers for my food or water, and when I don’t I am sure to recycle.” said Arnold. “Additionally, using your voice to vote can help lessen climate change. If you support people who are climate conscious as well as support a clean-energy economy.”

Arnold has made changes to her everyday life to reduce her environmental impact like her choice to not eat poultry or red meats. Behen also has made a lifestyle chance by becoming a vegan after learning the hard truth about the meat industry. The meat and dairy industry emit more carbon dioxide emissions that all forms of transportation combined. Behen and Arnold believe that that all kids her age should start making climate conscious decisions.

“I feel that students and other in our generation can do all of the above and more including going to protests and marches, voting for candidates that will represent your beliefs in climate change, and educating your peers, family members, and community of the impact of climate change,” said Moore.

Moore has began to lessen her carbon footprint by using reusable cups, straws, plates, etc. instead of single use plastics. Buying used clothing, taking shorter showers, using environmentally friendly cleaning supplies and beauty supplies, and reducing the amount of animal based foods and products she relies on.

“I think that the school does a good job of encouraging recycling with having recycling bins in every classroom, and also with the transfer of the majority of our work online it limits the usage of paper. The biggest area that can be improved on is in the cafeteria where the waste is the largest,” said Behen. “This is a really complex issue, with health code violations at risk and many other factors, but researching into more sustainable ways to meet these codes, or into creating a school-wide compost bin. One place to start could be by eliminating the abundance of plastic cutlery available that is immediately thrown away after use.”

While Behen recognizes that the school does make some climate conscious choices, they still have a way to go before the effect of their global emissions is significantly lessened.

“I believe the schools should make a mandatory course of environmental science to graduate. It’s imperative knowledge to understanding our planet,” said Moore.

Most schools do not require students to take classes like environmental science which makes it easy for students to be uninformed on the current increasing issues climate change is presenting. Arnold suggests the school makes and promotes environmental clubs to further educate students.

“I also believe that as a community, we should invest more in reusable energy sources like windmills and water turbines, eventually transitioning over to reusable energy sources for our apartments, houses, and other buildings,” said Moore. “Since our city is so old and we rely so heavily on oil to heat our house and water. This transition would be a dramatic change, but if we are set to accomplish it as a community, it will happen.”

Changing the city’s old ways would be hard on the citizens but this kind of change is necessary. Changing to renewable energy is just the start to eliminating greenhouse gasses and air pollution.

“The most effective way to do this is by targeting the large corporations that are the biggest culprits of [climate change]. We need to encouraging our representatives to pass laws that prohibit big companies from continuing the ways they are conducting their production,” said Behen.

Protesting and writing the concerns of climate change to your state senators and representatives is just the start to a hard fight against the rising issue. Making the easy switches to reusable straws, containers, and water bottles, can be the way we start to lower our personal global emissions.