Readers Write: Why renewable energy isn't the answer; minimum wage is a major threat to the country

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 20, 2014 weekly magazine:

Berlet: Renewable energy won't solve the world's energy problems. 

Soule: Low minimum wages and a growing income gap are putting pressure on the economy.

David Gray/Reuters/
Wind turbines at the Infigen Energy wind farm can be seen on the hills surrounding Lake George, located on the outskirts of the Australian capital city of Canberra on October 15.

Renewable energy isn’t the answer

I have read in a thoughtful state of mind the Monitor articles over the past several weeks, including the Sept. 22 cover story, “Climate controller,” and the Sept. 29 cover story, “The accidental oilman,” offering different perspectives on the concerns of climate change. They all seem to treat the science of human-caused warming of the planet as an assumption, rather than a question – even though there is little evidence of warming over the past 15 years. Even more frustrating, the articles ignore basic facts about the renewable sources of energy, particularly those – wind and solar – that survive largely because of government subsidies. 

Anyone can read a simple pie chart of energy sources and readily recognize that, for the next 100 years at least, nonrenewable sources of energy will continue to dwarf the output from renewable sources. And renewable resources will never be able to keep up with the rapidly increasing demand.

Where is the journalist who is willing to at least take the risk of open-mindedly exploring the real facts and effects of energy resources and power production, so that policymakers can no longer get by creating facts to fit their agenda?

Rick Berlet
Ashland, Ore.

Minimum wage is a major threat

The Sept. 29 One Week article “Income gap dents state tax revenue” marked the second time this year that Standard & Poor’s has documented the harmful macroeconomic effects of wage disparity. While congressional Republicans block an increase in the national minimum wage, is it any wonder that state and local governments, which rely on income and sales taxes, are increasing their minimum wages as a solution to low revenue? A Pew poll found 56 percent of Americans say their income is falling behind the cost of living. Income inequality needs to be more prevalent in the national dialogue. It is starting to look like a major threat to our economy and our way of life.

Rick Soule
South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.