Perhaps we should look at climate change as Pascal (a French philosopher, physicist and mathematician, 1623-62) did in terms of the existence of God. His famous wager put forth the proposition that, if you believe in God, you have nothing to lose and much to gain; but if you place your bet on the nonexistence of God, there could be a horrible price to be paid.
Same with climate change, it seems to me. We gain more by believing in it, and doing something about it, than betting that it is a left-wing ideology and that there are no consequences for all the pollution we create.
Climate change has been barely discussed in the election cycle that mercifully will have ended by the time you read this (Or will we have recounts that prolong the agony?). So, let's discuss climate change here.
In all the years I have been reading articles on religion or letters to the editor in our West Michigan newspapers, rarely do I see someone who argues that the church should take active measures to do something about climate change. Would that be too controversial for a preacher or parish newsletter?
But, you might ask, what can we do as individuals or as a church to combat something as global as climate change? There are many things, of course. Energy-saving light bulbs; energy-efficient cars; monitoring the amount of electricity we use; taking advantage of Consumers Energy's program of signing up for "green" energy for our homes, churches and businesses instead of coal energy (that costs me an additional $16 a month for my home — but well worth it, I believe).
Here is another idea that probably you have not thought of: getting rid of your lawn. Let it be natural. Perhaps planting some indigenous plants is a nice addition to natural ground cover.
Green lawns are a European import, which are not natural to Michigan. We have to water them all the time in summer, which wastes a precious resource. The fertilizers are often bad for the environment. We get neurotic about the moles, which ruin the look of a green lawn. The heat of summer then turns the green grass to brown.
Moreover, in the fall, you think you have to rake up all of those beautiful leaves only to expose the dull lawns of fall. I would rather have wood chips, fallen leaves, ground cover, and some color with flowers and plants you don't have to mow, rake or water all that much.
Moreover, lawnmowers create noise pollution, along with all that smoke belching out into the heavens.
Getting rid of lawns for vegetation and plants natural to Michigan won't solve the problem of climate change, but it will save you from a losing battle against it as you try to keep that British and French import — green grass — looking green.
What is wrong with appreciating the beautiful dandelions in the spring? Or the piles of red, yellow and brown leaves that pile up on our lawns in our gorgeous autumns?
You can also do away with church lawns, as far as I am concerned. Think of how much money that would save in parish budgets!
I have a lawnmower for sale, if you need one. I will never need it again!
— By the Rev. Henry Idema, Tribune religion columnist