Letter: Addressing climate change is another call to action

Michael A. Mullett


This is to express my heartfelt appreciation to The Republic for Brian Blair’s May 7 article, “Being a Steward of Mother Nature.”

As a resident of Columbus and a reader of The Republic for over 50 years, I moved initially to the community in the late 1960s to accept a job offer at Cummins because of the clarion call of that company’s then-CEO, the late, great J. Irwin Miller, to welcome to that corporation and to this community the people of the world in all of their demographic diversity to meet the challenge of the Civil Rights Movement. Now retired, with children long grown and gone to other places in the world, my wife and I still choose to live most of the year in Columbus and to volunteer our time and resources to this community because, while much remains to be done, Mr. Miller’s call was answered with community action to meet the challenge it framed and, over the intervening years, the Columbus community has, for the most part, striven together to live up to its motto, “Different by Design,” in other ways as well.

But times change and new challenges arise. Today, we all face a challenge even greater than political and economic freedom and justice for all human beings — the existential threat of global climate change. Once again, current Cummins CEO Tom Linebarger has issued a clarion call for action to his company, its communities, its employees, its suppliers, and its local, state, national and international governmental officials to meet this challenge. Indeed, Mr. Linebarger has gone even further: under his leadership, Cummins has developed comprehensive and detailed plans to change his company’s business model and operations to achieve environmental goals consistent with the Paris Climate Accords.

As The Republic’s article notes, however, the Columbus community has yet to act officially to develop and adopt its own comprehensive and detailed climate action plan. As someone who transitioned from adolescence to adulthood in the 1960s, a lifelong lesson for me is “think globally, act locally.” So, from my perspective, this is a grievous mistake.

But in my view, the responsibility for development and adoption of a community climate action plan does not rest alone on the City of Columbus or Mayor Jim Lienhoop. To me, it rests collectively with the leaders of all of the community’s major institutions. Once these community leaders have acted to initiate a comprehensive climate action planning process, I believe the rest of us have a responsibility to contribute as best we can to that action plan because we all contribute to global climate change.

As the article notes, other communities in Indiana have already initially adopted climate action plans. But as I see it, “late is better than not at all” in this critical context. So, in those immortal words attributed to Ulysses by the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson:

“Some work of noble note, may yet be done.

So come, my friends

‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.”