How do over six billion human beings live full and productive
lives without destroying the natural systems that sustain all
life on this small planet?
is the big question facing the world today.
some parts of the answer can be found in Maine — which is
literally the leading edge of the United States.
state has long been known for its independent and genuinely American
spirit. For centuries, its people had to apply all their ingenuity
to survive a hard land and an unforgiving sea. If farmers, loggers,
fishermen, shipwrights, or sailors could not competently improvise
solutions to the demands of a changing environment, they would
end up destitute or dead.
the popular imagination, Maine is often idealized as an unspoiled
Eden. But the real Maine is more problematic and perplexing. No
one who lives and works in Maine on a full-time basis would confuse
it with paradise.
of Maine's vast, wild forests have become standardized industrial
tree farms. Its seemingly endless schools of native cod and salmon
have been decimated by overfishing. Many of the state's great
rivers remain dammed and polluted. Once remote coastal and lakeside
areas are relentlessly subdivided because the original land owners
cannot afford to pay the escalating property taxes.
the most troubling trend is the state's descent into a low-paying
service economy. Maine is a place where many working people must
toil at two or more jobs to make ends meet.
They work as clerks at strip malls, wait tables, or in some way
cater to the needs and desires of tourists. It is hard to earn
an honest buck here, and people grab at what is available.
purpose of this Web site is to publicly recognize a few of the
large number of Mainers who manage to lead creative lives in sync
with nature and their local communities. Maine is one of the few
places left in this country where nonconformists can be heard
and function as valued citizens.
small, self-initiated social experiments and businesses may point
us in the direction of a more sustainable and sane society. Their
voices and visions are certainly worth considering.
is my hope that MaineOriginals.net will stimulate your thinking
about your current life choices and generally tickle your fancy.
Bob Barancik / Portland, Maine / May 1, 2002