Readers write: The work of downsizing, evidence of climate change, hopeful coverage on famine

Letters to the editor for the Sept. 25, 2017 weekly magazine.

Rhianna Gelhart/The Register-Guard/AP
This July 26, 2017 photo shows Sam Koekkoek's tiny house he built in Springfield, Ore.

The work of downsizing

Regarding the Aug. 21 Monitor Daily story “Home prices, and a thought shift, give ‘small living’ a boost”: Interesting concept. My friend has done it, downsizing and living in a tiny apartment. But I’m not about to give up my house and garden. Decluttering would be a two-month, full-time job, which I haven’t been willing to devote myself to at this point. There is too much else going on in my life. And it’s painful to throw away memories!

Kris Johnson

Williston, Ohio

Evidence of climate change

The focus in the July 24 Science & Nature story “Things are heating up” on empirical evidence, rather than overstated claims based on seriously flawed climate models, represents a welcome evolution in the Monitor’s coverage of climate change. It would have been even more informative had it noted the impact of the latest El Niño and satellite data showing that 2016 was a statistically insignificant 0.02 degrees Celsius warmer than 1998. Noting recent satellite data and surface observations showing global average temperatures near the range of the “pause” in warming that began in 1997 would have provided additional context, but then the story would have required a different headline. I look forward to more articles educating readers on the facts related to climate change accompanied by headlines highlighting the good news not widely reported.

Rick Pfizenmayer

Stuarts Draft, Va.

Hopeful coverage on famine

You really fulfilled the mission of the Monitor with the July 31 cover story on famine in Africa. After a week of particularly discouraging headlines, I read “Can famine be checked?” and was left with an unfamiliar feeling: hope. Times are very difficult around the world, but people are in fact capable of working together to create solutions, bit by bit. Thank you.

Meredith Stivers

Brookline, Mass.

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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.

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