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December 05, 2007

Maine Activist Among America's Top Hometown Heroes

Joansaxe
Photo by Barry Saxe

Longtime Maine Sierra Club volunteer Joan Saxe has been chosen as one of 40 semi-finalists in the 6th Annual Volvo for life Awards, and is in the running to be named "America's Greatest Hometown Hero." As coordinator for the Club's Cool Communities initiative in Maine, Saxe has brought the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement to the attention of cities and towns throughout the state and secured their commitment to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions.

"What's good for the world is good for your hometown," Saxe says, "and it only takes one or two people to get things moving." Those who work with Saxe describe her as "always humble and positive," focusing on the tangible benefits of being environmentally responsible rather than relying on doomsday scenarios or pressure tactics. As she speaks with local officials and makes presentations in front of city councils, she emphasizes that efforts on the local level will not only help curb global warming, they will save taxpayer dollars and promote healthier cities and towns. As a direct result of her efforts, communities across the state have agreed to the Climate Protection Agreement standards.

Volvo has identified ten heroes in each of four categories: Safety, Quality of Life, Environment, and Butterfly (a youth category). Saxe is an Environment semi-finalist, and between now and January 7, 2008, an online public vote will determine the finalist in each category. More than 700,000 votes were tallied last year. This year, Volvo has doubled the charitable donation given to the winners: the top vote-getter in the Safety, Quality of Life, and Environment categories will receive $100,000 for the charity of their choice, with two runners-up in each category receiving $25,000. The Butterly winner will receive $25,000, with $10,000 going to two runners-up.

After the public voting period ends on January 7, a panel of judges will select one grand award winner, "America's Greatest Hometown Hero," who will receive a new Volvo car every three years for life. Read more about this year's "real-life heroes" and vote for Saxe… er, the hero of your choice.

Find out how you can help make your hometown a Cool City.

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