Representing Youth in the Energy Working Group: Martin Carriere

Youth Representative: Martin Carriere

Martin Carriere first faced the reality of the climate crisis in 2014, when the farm that had been in his family for generations struggled with drought and a new uncertainty due to climate change. Then in 2021 there was not enough water to flood his grandfather’s rice fields in California, a phenomenon that had never occurred since the farm was founded in the 1800s.

Carriere’s unique connection to the outdoors brought him from California to Maine to study at Bates College. Hoping to pursue a career in wildlife conservation, he enrolled in biology courses and found work in the campus garden. Hearing stories of flooding and drought from his Maine-based classmates, Carriere started to see the connections between the two coasts.  

It was then his interests in the natural world, climate, and sustainability converged for the first time, leading him to join the EcoRep team at Bates, a team of students who promote environmental sustainability on campus. One opportunity led to another, and Carriere joined the Maine Climate Council’s Energy Working Group as a Youth Representative in 2023.  

Carriere has taken a special interest in renewable energy-- he understands the tangible benefits of decarbonizing the electric grid.  

“By switching to locally produced energy, we become independent from global oil markets, something that is universally beneficial: we can save money, and increase sustainability,” says Carriere.  

In his studies at Bates, Carriere spends a lot of time thinking about how to understand opposing beliefs and utilize that understanding to find common ground in solutions. In the Energy Working Group, he has taken part in conversations surrounding equity and how to create policy that can benefit many different interests – it’s critical to communicate how clean energy will benefit their interests. 

“I think something that has been a powerful takeaway from the Energy Working Group is that there is a plan. Motivated people are working every day to form a plan that is deeply grounded in Maine’s climate reality. It is very inspiring.” 

Carriere believes that individual action is essential to combating the climate crisis and that through our actions, we can contribute to a larger culture of caring. While the solar panels that were recently installed on his family’s farm aren’t going to stop the droughts in California, he knows that even something as simple as demonstrating your values can lead to a profound impact on the actions of others, turning the tide toward a better future. Carriere hopes to continue working at the intersection of energy, climate, and policy to create a more sustainable and efficient future.