The Price of Isolation

Sustain Southern Maine, a very ambitious planning effort stretching from Brunswick to Kittery, Sanford to Standish, simply begs people to ask the obvious question.

Why would Kittery care what happens in Brunswick?

And, how could what happens in a peaceful inland town like Acton possibly affect a prosperous coastal town like Falmouth?

The answer to that can be summed up in one phrase: There’s strength in numbers.

Mainers prize their independence. We spent our early history fighting off English lords, French raiders and Massachusetts land speculators. The broad and peaceful town-owned commons so dear to the hearts of our southern neighbors are rare up here. Even now we run our towns like small fiefdoms and tend to come to any discussions of cooperation or sharing with a certain amount of, say, reserve.

But when there is reason to work together, we do. In a crisis. Or when there’s a clearly defined benefit for all involved.

That is what Sustain Southern Maine is banking on. The benefits of this very large ­region working together can be enormous. Just think – most of the growth in Maine over the next decades will take place right here. The state’s largest economic engine is right here. The largest concentration of higher education in the state is…right here. We are a force to be reckoned with.

If we find common areas where we can speak in one voice, whether it be on policy, or education or economic development, we will generate a pretty loud noise.

Over the next two years, Sustain Southern Maine will be identifying opportunities to show how that noise can help to strengthen our economy, environment and community. Please keep in touch.

By Carol Morris, Sustain Southern Maine Team Member

The Partners Blog provides a space for our partners to talk about issues that affect the Sustain Southern Maine effort. Carol Morris, president of Morris Communications, is a public outreach consultant for Sustain Southern Maine who has spent hundreds of hours in large and small meetings soliciting opinions and interactions on many topics. It’s never boring.