Readers write: Prior colonization, new plan, travel experiences

Letters to the editor for the June 12, 2017 weekly magazine.

Sara Miller LLana/The Christian Science Monitor
Cecelia (l.), daughter of writer Sara Llana, learns the joys of caring for animals on a farm during a 3-day farm stay iin Banksa Bystrica, central Slovakia.

Prior colonization

Regarding the May 29 OneWeek article “To colonize space, start close to Earth”: Establishing an outpost on Mars is in no way comparable to the settling of North America. All the essentials will need to be taken there, and there may be absolutely nothing there that can help humans survive.

I see this Mars settlement as nothing more than a black hole to pour money into. This money can be better spent here. Finally, settlement in North America had a lot of loss of life. Are we willing to accept these losses?

Ted Quirk

Oak Harbor, Wash.

New plan

Regarding the May 29 Upfront column, “How we’re addressing your website concerns”: It must be hard to try and please so many different readers. Thanks for trying! I understand and agree that a paper (or any business that employs people and has expenses) must make a profit and be sustainable in the face of some readers’ preference to not pay for news. I support your plan to back off a bit from free news and to strive for distinction and continued quality in the face of so much other “news” that comes all throughout our day.

Kate Knox

Fort Collins, Colo.

Travel experiences

Regarding “8 paradises found,” the May 29 cover story: While I enjoyed reading all the travel stories of Monitor writers, the one about Slovakia brought back memories. When I was a college student in the 1970s, I spent a semester in Germany. I then put out my thumb, going from Munich, Germany, to Italy and then on to what was then Yugoslavia. I traveled by train and hitchhiked down the Dalmatian Coast, stopping overnight in Split. The host of a summer resort about to open treated me to dinner on the beach. We ate fresh-caught fish and drank Turkish coffee. Yes, traveling to off-the-beaten-path locations can open up one’s senses as never before. 

Janice Gintzler

Crestwood, Ill.

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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

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