December 9, 2015

Island Institute report cites need for broadband on year-round islands

The Island Institute released a report Wednesday outlining the lack of broadband Internet access on Maine islands, options for solutions and the economic benefits of improved service. The goal of the report from the Rockland nonprofit was to provide the island communities with information to help them make decisions about pursuing or funding any expansion of services.
Lisa Leahy speaks at the December 9 Press Conference
December 9, 2015

Report: Broadband on Maine's Islands Substandard

PORTLAND, Maine — While broadband speed in Maine may be slow, broadband on Maine's year-round islands is even slower, which is having a significant negative effect on their economies. That's according to a new report released today by the Island Institute which indicates that almost all of Maine's islands have substandard broadband service. The report estimates that full access to broadband speeds on Maine islands would increase GDP in those communities by $90 million over ten years and lead to the creation of 170 coastal jobs by 2028.
Rob Snyder
November 24, 2015

Here's the Thing: Andrew Berman and Rob Snyder on Preserving What Matters

Growth comes with costs. On this episode of Here's The Thing, Alec Baldwin talks to two individuals who are protecting places that are most vulnerable to development and destruction.  Andrew Berman has been called one of the most powerful people in New York real estate, but not because he's a deep-pocketed developer. Berman is the Executive Director of The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, where he advocates for the protection and conservation of historically important buildings and sites, including cultural touchstones like the Stonewall Inn.
Island Energy Conference participants on Star Island
November 10, 2015

To Find Energy Solutions, Maine's Small Islands Look to Peers in Other States

And at the Island Institute's annual energy conference last week, participants also heard from their counterparts from as far away as Alaska, who are generating electricity using hydrokinetic river power. "We've looked at some wind power, some solar thermal and have made the most progress with hydrokinetic power," says AlexAnna Salmon, the council president of Igiugig, Alaska, a small, remote village accessible only by air.
Ben Algeo and Suzanne MacDonald unload boxes of LEDs
November 8, 2015

In Maine’s remotest island community, changing the lightbulb has far-reaching implications

The Island Institute runs programs to support sustainability on Maine’s 14 year-round, offshore communities. Changing out power-hungry bulbs on Monhegan and Matinicus is a first step to reduce dependence on diesel and help make island living more affordable. The 2,326 LEDs sent this year to Monhegan are expected to save utility customers a total of $15,000 a year. The 600 bulbs now on Matinicus could cut bills by a toal of $5,000. A second shipment planned for this winter of 400 bulbs could trim another $3,000 for the island.
Oysters at Basket Island Oyster Company
October 30, 2015

Maine isn’t doing enough to protect Gulf from effects of climate change

By Colin Woodard / Portland Press Herald At a local level, scientists believe there are ways to mitigate the effects of one aspect of a warming gulf, ocean acidification. Eelgrasses and kelps take up dissolved carbon dioxide at a remarkable rate – with almost triple the effectiveness of a similar acreage of forest – and consumes excess nutrients, the two primary drivers of acidification. In doing so, they reduce the acidity of the surrounding seawater, to the benefit of clams, mussels and other creatures living nearby.
Mike Devin
October 29, 2015

Ocean acidification threatens future of aquaculture, shellfish industries

The world’s oceans are turning more acidic. Since the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have grown by more than 70 percent and now stand at the highest level in at least 800,000 years. As the oceans absorb additional CO2, they’ve become 30 percent more acidic over this period.  The Gulf of Maine is particularly vulnerable because its colder water more readily absorbs carbon dioxide and because the increasing frequency of major snow and rain events flood the gulf with more acidic river runoff. 
August 29, 2015

Sphaera: Helping change makers do more, faster

Everyday around the world, people are coming up with new ways to tackle the greatest social and environmental challenges of our lifetime. Whether we’re focused on solving problems across time zones or in our own backyards, when we can learn from our collective successes and failures we are better, faster, and more effective at finding solutions. Sharing our knowledge allows others to challenge, refine, and adapt it to best meet their needs, perpetuating a ripple effect of positive change.
Phil Whitney
July 27, 2015

Islands in the mainstream: Affordable housing key to sustainable island populations

By Laurie Schreiber / Mainebiz An influx of new families on Great Cranberry Island promises hope for a sustainable year-round community. Their move here was made possible by the development of affordable housing in a real estate market that is otherwise outpriced for moderate incomes. Great Cranberry is one of seven islands that shared a 2010 allotment of $2.7 million earmarked by the state for affordable, energy-efficient new construction, renovation and replacement housing.
July 24, 2015

Beer brewer located 10 miles out to sea adds to line

Monhegan Brewing Company and the Island Institute announced Wednesday the release of the new island-themed beer, a “summer blonde” brew named 15, after the 15 year-round island communities on the Maine coast. Artwork for the beer label was provided by Monhegan artist Donna Cundy. The Island Institute will receive $1 for every bottle of 15 sold. Monhegan Brewing co-owner Mary Weber said that they support the work of the Island Institute, which helped Monhegan Brewing at its start by providing some capital funding through a loan.