Readers Write: Getting an education in the 'real world,' climate change needs solutions

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 3, 2014 weekly magazine:

Martin: It takes years of students testing themselves in the very competitive “real world” before the lure of progressivism is forged into pragmatism.

Cutler: The need for action is urgent. We have only a few years to get effective controls over greenhouse-gas emissions.

Kin Cheung/AP/File
Pro-democracy protesters raise umbrellas at a rally in the occupied areas outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty Oct. 28. Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong stretched into a fourth week, as student leaders pushing for a greater say in choosing the territory's chief executive met with government officials but agreed on little.

An education in the ‘real world’

The Oct. 20 Monitor’s View “Why teens often lead protests” includes this sentence in the last paragraph: “Public protests are only one way for students to put their education to the test.” Putting education to the test may be what they are doing, but is it their education or their professors’ social cliques they are testing?

Reality and something other than social liberalism are not often found in today’s halls of higher learning. It takes years of students testing themselves in the very competitive “real world” before the lure of progressivism is forged into pragmatism. What follows is the development of a few true leaders and difference-makers, many of whom did not use bullhorns and street protests when they were young. Youthful activism is desirable, but learning pragmatism, something most of their professors have never learned, is even more desirable.

Roland Martin
Carmel, Calif.

Climate change needs solutions

It is my practice to write the media in appreciation for articles on climate disruption. I enjoyed the June 30 Focus story “After Kyoto: What can work?,” which described a hopeful strategy for reaching international agreements to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.

The Sept. 22 cover story, “Climate controller,” highlights the inspiring and effective leadership of United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres.

The Sept. 29 cover story, “The accidental oilman,” points out the difficult moral and economic choices involved in the transformation to a carbon-free economy. 

The need for action is urgent. We have only a few years to get effective controls over greenhouse-gas emissions in place and only a few decades to bring those emissions down to sustainable levels. The scope of the task is immense, and the consequences if we fail are horrendous. Those who care about the climate need to press our leaders in government and business to limit carbon emissions and expand renewable energy.

William Cutler
Union City, 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.