Margaret Chase Smith Essay:
Can Maine Prosper? Leadership, Research, and Partnership for Economic Growth
Yellow Light Breen describes how the Maine Development Foundation works to improve Maine’s economy and educate Maine’s leaders.
Maine Energy Planning Roadmap— Energizing Maine’s Future
Lisa Smith and Jeff Marks describe the Maine Energy Planning Roadmap, which is scheduled for release in January 2018. The Maine Governor’s Energy Office (GEO), with the guidance of a diverse and accomplished steering committee and funding provided by the US Department of Energy (DOE), is developing the Roadmap.
Reflections: Why Doesn’t Science Get Used? The Upcoming Focus on Citizen Science
Linda Silka addresses the focus of the next issue of MPR, citizen science.
Impacts of Recent Mill Closures and Potential Biofuels Development on Maine’s Forest Products Industry
by Mindy S. Crandall, James L. Anderson, and Jonathan Rubin
The economic contributions of a sector are a measure of how money from that sector moves about a regional economy. Using 2014 estimates of economic contributions from the forest product industry in Maine, the authors estimate the 2016 contribution by considering the impacts from several recent mill closures. The loss of these mills, particularly paper mills, reduces the economic contributions of the forest products industry relative to the state economy and distorts markets for low-value wood. The authors also explore a prospective opportunity to revive low-value wood markets by modeling the economic impacts from a hypothetical colocated biorefinery, where wood chips are turned into advanced fuels and chemical coproducts. The dollar value of economic impacts from such an investment are small relative to the total industry, but they may prove significant for some rural communities.
Owning Maine’s Future: Fostering a Cooperative Economy in Maine
by Davis Taylor and Rob Brown
Maine’s economy faces a host of well-known challenges: reliance on natural resource extraction or low-quality service jobs, geographic isolation, challenging climate, and out-migration, especially of young adults. Staying on this course is undesirable, but traditional economic development fixes have had limited success. The authors examine the possibilities of making cooperatively owned businesses a central feature of Maine’s economy. They outline the characteristics, benefits, and challenges of cooperatives and identify six important sectors of the Maine economy in which cooperative ownership already plays an important role or could make more contributions to economic and community vitality. The authors describe several other regions, with a focus on Finland, with strong cooperative economies or businesses, and examine the socioeconomic benefits and institutional features that encourage the development of cooperatives. The article concludes with policy recommendations that could facilitate similar outcomes in Maine.
Maine’s Culture of Reuse and Its Potential to Advance Environmental and Economic Policy Objectives
by Cindy Isenhour, Andrew Crawley, Brieanne Berry and Jennifer Bonnet
Policies designed to extend the lifetime of products—by encouraging reuse rather than disposal—are proliferating. Research suggests that reuse can ease pressure on natural resources and improve economic efficiency, all while preventing waste. In Maine, there are clear signs of a tradition of reuse that might be used to advance these goals. But beyond discrete observations, proverbs, and anecdotal stories, little data have been collected upon which to estimate the potential of Maine’s reuse economy. This paper draws upon findings generated during the first year of a five-year interdisciplinary, mixed-methods research project designed to explore the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of reuse in Maine. Our preliminary findings suggest that Maine does, indeed, have a vibrant but underestimated reuse economy. Less expected are findings that suggest reuse has promise to enhance economic resilience and contribute to culturally appropriate economic development.
Sharing Isn’t Easy: Food Waste and Food Redistribution in Maine K–12 Schools
Approximately 30 percent of food in the United States is wasted. When food is landfilled instead of eaten, the economic and natural resources used to produce and transport that food are also wasted. At the same time, however, food insecurity remains a pressing issue both in the United States and within the state of Maine. This paper explores efforts to reduce food waste and address food insecurity in Maine’s K–12 school system, with an emphasis on food redistribution. Research indicates that schools produce substantial amounts of food waste, but little is known about strategies that schools employ to address food waste, either through formal policy or grassroots efforts. Based on an analysis of school board waste policies and interviews with school officials in Maine, this study suggests that the adoption of specific types of practices to reduce food waste is influenced by multiple factors.
Maine’s Artisan Cheesemakers: The Opportunities and Challenges of Being an Artist, Scientist, Agriculturalist, Alchemist, and Entrepreneur
Maine’s artisanal cheese sector has grown rapidly in the last six years. Maine cheesemakers take a variety of approaches including those based on farmsteads and operations sourcing milk from local dairies. This study examines cheesemakers’ business operations and their approaches to sustainability, opportunities, and threats. Cheesemakers report that they derive several benefits from their enterprise, but that they face challenges to ensure their long-term sustainability.
Electronic Cigarettes in Maine: Health Effects, Marketing, Use, and Regulation
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are electronic nicotine-delivery systems (ENDS) that deliver a vapor of nicotine and other potentially dangerous chemicals to the user; nonusers are also exposed. Driven by a well-funded advertising campaign, use of e-cigarettes has increased in Maine until it now exceeds the use of combustible cigarettes among youth. In 2015, 14.5 percent of female high school students and 18.8 percent of male high school students in Maine reported current use of e-cigarettes. Maine laws and city ordinances restrict e-cigarette use in some places where combustible cigarettes are banned, but legislative gaps remain. Most Maine schools, colleges, and hospitals also ban e-cigarettes, but again gaps remain. This article explores the marketing and use of e-cigarettes nationwide and in Maine and proposes policies to restrict access and use, particularly by youth.
Margaret Chase Smith High School Student Essay Contest
Crusade against the Drugs, Not the Users
Each year the Margaret Chase Smith Library sponsors an essay contest for high school seniors. The essay prompt for 2017 was, How would you address the current lethal drug epidemic? The essays have been edited for length.