It’s a chilling tradition that many Maine residents are proud to participate in to ring in the new year – an icy dip in the ocean – but not this year, at least not in a large group.

For the past 32 years, Special Olympics Maine has welcomed hundreds of Maine residents to the Old Orchard Beach Lobster Swim. Lisa Byrd of Special Olympics Maine says this is the organization’s largest fundraising event of the entire year, where they typically raise $100,000, money that is used to support the more than 5,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities across the state they serve.

This year, the Lobster Roll, which is always held on New Year’s Day, has evolved into a virtual Lobster Roll event that lasts all month long. Special Olympics Maine asks participants to take a picture or video of themselves rolling in the snow, if they can find it, or in the water, basically anything cold.

“This is a year that needs to be washed away, put behind us, and started over in 2021, so I decided I was going to go for it and do (the plunge) this year,” said NRCM’s Beth Comeau, who vowed in 2015 to never do it. do another polar plunge. The money raised during their virtual event will go to support clean energy in Maine and promote renewable energy.

The implications of climate change for Maine’s environment are serious. We are already seeing extreme weather events. Wildlife habitat, our recreation industry, leaf peeping, and fishing are all at risk. Sea levels are rising and our air quality is deteriorating.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine advocates for energy-efficient solutions for homes and businesses, clean air, clean transportation, and renewable energy. Every cent raised through the Polar Bear Dip & Dash is used to directly support this work to reduce emissions and realize a cleaner energy future.