Readers write: Birds and their plans, billionaire fights poverty, using proven methods

Letters to the editor for the Jan. 15, 2018 weekly magazine.

Helena Osvath/Lund University/AP
A raven holds a piece of wood next to a testing device in Lund, Sweden.

Birds and their plans

I read with delight the Aug. 7 OneWeek article “Can ravens think and plan ahead?” One early spring morning while on my back porch in Phoenix, I was enjoying a cup of coffee and looking over my back garden wall at the undeveloped land behind our property. The land was covered with various cactuses, including several large saguaros. Suddenly, two small birds landed on the large saguaro immediately behind our wall. They hopped around a small hole in the plant for a few minutes and then flew away. Moments later, they returned, accompanied by a Gila woodpecker. The woodpecker enlarged the existing hole and left. The two birds immediately started to build their spring nest. I find this a great example of the cognitive skill that many birds have.

Myldred K. Richardson

Tucson, Ariz.

Billionaire fights poverty

The Nov. 20 cover story, “A billionaire’s war on poverty,” was an excellent article! The article has inspired me. Thank you so much for amplifying the good that this savvy benefactor is doing.

Ros Byrne

Canberra, Australia

Bravo! Thank you for the Nov. 20 cover story. This touches on so many crucial social issues and goes into great depth. It was so sensitively felt and written as well! And many thanks for the touching photography! This is just what the Monitor is meant to accomplish.

Carolyn Nagusky

Salida, Colo.

Using proven methods

Regarding the Nov. 24 Monitor Daily article “Plumbing the role of ancient culture in conservation”: Biocultural conservation makes such good sense! It makes use of what is practical and has proved to work. I’m glad to see the subject raised. I had not thought of it in these terms.

Margery Gibson

Victoria, British Columbia

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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.