I have lived in Maine as far North as Caribou, as far South as Brunswick, and a few places in between. I picked potatoes for 25 cents a barrel at the age of seven and I helped manage a potato industry research program for a higher rate of pay later in life. I climbed Katahdin and have studied Maine’s outdoor recreation industry. I got some training as an economist and I question some of the fundamental principles economists often embrace.
I remember like it was yesterday the day Kennedy was shot. My view of the world was shaped by the Vietnam War and the movements of the 1960s and 1970s – including the environmental and women’s movements. Ed Muskie was an early hero of mine, perhaps because he was my mother’s friend in college. One of my Grandfathers emigrated here from Scotland and I might have enjoyed a wee dram from time to time as a result.
I grow tomatoes, climb mountains, read history, play golf. Our house, like most Mainers, has three different heating sources and we are thinking about adding a fourth. There is no greater pleasure than to sit on the back porch with my best friend and listen to owls ask “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all?” and to hear the coyotes howl. Seeing a bobcat in the back yard was last winter’s best treat.
I had the great privilege to work for over 35 years at UMaine, retiring in 2015 from the School of Economics. Most satisfying was advising many students who were studying natural resources, ecology, or environmental sciences. I got to teach hundreds (maybe it was even thousands) of students in all majors how to think about global environmental issues. And the secret is that I think I learned more from that then they did.
I am a Fellow with UMaine’s George Mitchell Center, where I learned to think more clearly about sustainability. Since retiring from UMaine I have become an editor for the journal Sustainability Science.
In Stirring the Pot I want to share with you a little bit of what I have learned.