Readers write: Food waste, website change, close to home

Letters to the editor for the June 5, 2017 weekly magazine.

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue goes though the lunch line to have lunch with students at the Catoctin Elementary School in Leesburg, Va. on May 1, 2017.

Food waste

The May 22 One Week article “Pros, cons of new school food rules” reminded me of a research project I did in graduate school in 1980. Over a 10-day period in the elementary school where I taught, I weighed the amount of waste in each of six food categories. Then, basing my calculations on average amounts of food thrown away, I projected not only the tons of food wasted nationally (both daily and yearly) but the cost as well. Federal regulations may have changed since then, but I imagine this problem of waste persists.

Jayne I. Hanlin

St. Louis

Website change

Regarding the May 29 Upfront column, “How we’re addressing your website concerns”: Excellent “remodeling.” Change is good – good change is even better! Thank you for all of the hard work that goes into the great news you disseminate.

Carolyn Reilly

San Rafael de Coronado, Costa Rica

Close to home

Regarding the April 28 article “To colonize space, start closer to Earth” (CSMonitor.com): I have long felt that development toward a Mars mission would be better served by first industrializing, and making profitable, a larger and larger low-Earth-orbit presence, supported from Earth. 

The real questions for us relate to the economic viability of development at the slow pace that will be forced by the large distances. 

The costs of doing it fast from Earth are prohibitive. How long can we sustain an investment before there is some payback? But this pathway of slowly growing an off-Earth self-supporting human space residential/industrial ecosystem will likely be a faster path, and certainly a more meaningful and sustainable one, than trying to force an all-in-one shot to Mars, paid for by taxes, that risks lives, consumes astronomical financial resources, and establishes nothing.

Geoff Cahoon

Seattle

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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.

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