Readers write: Natural resources, importance of mentors, encouraging news, example in Japan

Letters to the editor for the Nov. 21, 2016 weekly magazine.

Alfredo Sosa/Staff
The Columbia River flows through arid escarpments near the tiny town of Vantage in Central Washington.

Natural resources

Regarding the Oct. 17 cover story, “How the water wars may end”: I applaud the positive steps taken by the farmers in Yakima, Wash. This is so much better than court battles. But I do not see long-term solutions to meeting the demand for water until we face up to the fact that unlimited growth can only lead to disaster. Somehow we must wake up to the fact that we live on a planet with limits. Growth in human population needs to stop. Nothing else will help for long.

Eugene W. Peterson

Santa Barbara, Calif.

Importance of mentors

Thank you for the special section on education to which I was recently introduced. I noticed that the Sept. 15 EqualEd article, “If we don’t give kids mentors, the gang leaders will, former Education chief says” (, included thoughts from former Education Secretary Arne Duncan. He discussed the importance of a mentor. 

As a teacher in Chicago, I can speak to the benefits of mentors. I wish that the Chicago Board of Education would publicize Mr. Duncan’s call for mentors. I am retired now, but the sports department at the high school where I worked set up mentors for underclass sportswomen. A young woman who was a runner had squeezed past a failing grade. Then the mentoring started. The student started doing homework and participating in class. Her subsequent grades indicated the benefit of the mentoring. My experience with student mentors is nothing but positive.

Janice Gintzler

Crestwood, Ill.

Encouraging news 

The Sept. 19 cover story, “The spirit of Congress,” was a very encouraging story, and when I finished it, I felt at peace. The pictures were great and the story was well researched. What a blessing it was for me to read and ponder it. I am enjoying the magazine more than ever, and I am so happy to see the crossword puzzle return to its pages. The cartoons are lighthearted and yet frequently poignant and provide an insight into a current dialogue in the United States and the world. 

I always check the viewpoint of the Monitor in the editorials and Christian Science Perspective column and use the ideas shared by reviewers of films, TV shows, and books to guide my choices. I can see why Mary Baker Eddy established The Christian Science Monitor at the height of her career spiritually. Many thanks for your love and hard work, which is evident to readers. While I can appreciate the stories and devotion of other news publications to their ideals, the Monitor stands as a beacon of light for me in my practice of Christian Science.

Leigh Ann Mason

Alexandria, Va.

Example in Japan

Regarding the Oct. 10 editorial “How Japan is turning silver into gold”: With 120 million people crammed into an area the size of California, and dependent upon imports for almost all of its raw resources, Japan is overpopulated and unsustainable. Yet when its population began to shrink, most politicians were alarmed rather than relieved. During the shift to a smaller population, Japan will indeed face changes and challenges, but these are often overstated. For example, although costs for elder care will increase, costs for child care, housing, food, and energy will decrease. If Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his fellow citizens transition gracefully to a sustainable population and economy, then the rest of the world – especially the US, which focuses on “bubble” economics and bubble demographics – could learn a lot.

M. Gilkey

Mountain View, Calif.

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