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Portland Students Advocate For Solar Power For Public Schools

Caitlin Troutman
Maine Public

The group "SolaRISE Portland" took advantage of Saturday’s break in rain to hold a march and fundraiser.

The group of youth environmental activists gathered at City Hall in Portland and marched to Deering Oaks Park on Saturday to advocate for the installation of solar panels on Portland public schools.

Siri Pierce, a junior at Casco Bay High School, is a member of SolaRISE and one of the event organizers.

“We think it’s really important that the city is committed to reaching a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2040 for city-owned buildings,” she says. “We think that schools would be a great place to start, and the symbolism of solar panels on schools could show students why environmental stewardship is important and why we need to continue to take steps toward a cleaner energy future.”

The event was organized entirely by students in the Portland area.

“It’s important that we lead this movement as youth, because for so long the adults have ignored this issue, and they still aren’t listening to us, and it really is our future,” Pierce says. “We’re inheriting this earth, we’re inheriting this planet, the changes that are happening now are going to affect us the most, so we need to take this action.

As of Saturday afternoon, the group had raised $12,800 of their $25,000 goal. The organizers say that funds raised will be put toward solar panel installation, with a goal of being “short-term cost neutral and long-term cost beneficial for Portland.”

Caitlin Troutman is the Digital News and Content Producer for Maine Public. Caitlin worked as a writer and editor for various publications before discovering her love for public media at KCUR in Kansas City. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Critical Theory from the Oxbridge Honors Program at William Jewell College and the University of Oxford. She joined Maine Public in 2018.