Readers write: Drought solutions, accurate language, forgiveness in Charleston

Letters to the editor for the July 20, 2015, weekly magazine.
David Gray/Reuters/File
A traditionally dressed Australian Aboriginal performer has a drink of water as he prepares to participate in a traditional dance during an event on Sydney's Coogee Beach May 27. Australians have had to cope with water shortages through innovative and practical means.

Drought solutions not perfect
As a “transplanted” Californian who has lived in Melbourne, Australia, for nearly 40 years, I found the June 23 online article “How Australians survived a 13-year drought by going low-tech” (CSMonitor.com) excellent. During the drought here many strategies were adopted, such as alternating watering days by street number and using buckets in showers and to wash cars instead of letting water run from waterspouts and hoses. The reason we have a desalination plant, which is costing us $1 million (Australian) a day to maintain, is that the Climate Commission insisted it “was not a drought” but was permanent climate change, and if nothing were done, we would run out of water. Now we are still paying for it, our children and grandchildren will be paying for it, and no politician will accept responsibility, confirming the saying “success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.”
Wayne Day
Melbourne, Australia

Concern for accurate language
Regarding the June 29 Home Forum essay, “My lonesome language crusade”: The author is not alone in his concern about the decline in language acuity in our culture. The electronic age of selfies and texting has produced several generations of people who not only do not know how to write, spell, punctuate, or think analytically, but also do not seem to value language or care about its erosion. Dependence on electronic spell-checkers is insufficient. I am afraid the United States is trending toward illiteracy with only a small percentage of folks who work at using accurate language.
Ken Kauffman
Whiskey Hill, Ore.

Forgiveness inspiring
Regarding the June 22 online Christian Science Perspective “Rejecting hate” (CSMonitor.com) about the shootings in Charleston, S.C.: The overwhelming capacity of forgiveness expressed by so many of the victims’ relatives has united a nation in awe of their grace. Where hate tore our hope asunder, they chose forgiveness, and gave hope to America and the world.
Joy Ohler
Spring Valley Lake, 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.”

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