I must confess that this is the first time I have ever written an opinion piece for a newspaper in my lifetime.

An opinion piece in the Feb. 12 edition of The Navigator caught my attention in regard to climate change, whether it is fact or fiction, and whether humans are to blame. The writer said, “I keep hearing how the world climate is changing and how we need to stop it! I scratch my head and wonder about the insolence of man to believe we have that much control over God’s earth.” This was not the first time I heard a comment similar to this and it seems to imply that it is silly for anyone to think that we can impact God’s creation. I simply want to share an alternative perspective on this matter. I don’t believe that we can do anything we want to the environment and it will all be ok because we are small and earth is large.

Everyone can debate all day about climate change, if it’s real or not, and whether we are to blame. Everyone can find their own scientist and studies to support their own belief. Let’s push that debate aside for a minute and ask the more important and underlying question: “as a whole, do we have a responsibility to respect and take care of what God gave us?” In my opinion, the answer is a resounding YES. I am a Christian who believes that we are stewards of our bodies and our environment. I don’t believe for a second that we and our actions are inconsequential and that we do not have the ability to impact what God gave us. We were all created in God’s image, yet we can damage our own bodies with drugs, alcohol, and hatred. God created the heavens and the earth, yet we can damage it also.

The Cuyahoga River is located in Northeast Ohio and caught fire 12 times, but no one cared until it caught fire for the 13th and final time in 1969. Who inflicted the damage to that river? Mankind did by dumping oil and industrial wastes into the river. Who corrected the problem? Mankind did by passing multiple clean water and environmental bills in 1969. I hate to imagine where we would be today if Congress did not take action more than 50 years ago that benefitted generations to come. Consider other countries where smog and pollution are so thick, most people wear masks over their face. Ask yourself if those air quality conditions were caused by mankind. Is our climate changing? I am not an expert on that. If the climate is changing, are we the blame? I am not an expert on that either. All I am suggesting is that we take a common sense approach, respect what God gave us, and be open to changes that would benefit the environment we live in, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.

Even if someone does not believe in climate change, can’t he/she at least support those individuals who drive an electric car, or install solar panels on their house, or eat less meat without making fun of them? While planting trees has numerous benefits and is a natural scrubber as the writer referenced, wouldn’t it also be logical to go to the source of pollutants and look for practical ways to reduce pollution rather than look for ways to scrub the pollutants after the fact? While the Feb. 12 opinion writer scratches his head and wonders about the insolence of man to believe we have that much control over God’s earth, I choose to look at recent history and determine that we are not insignificant and we can impact God’s earth. Our environment seems worthy of our efforts and respect.

Kent Mason, Albion