Readers write: Glacier memories, climate change and fossils, and Latin nouns

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
See what readers shared in the Aug. 5 issue.

Glacier memories

One of my favorite vacation memories is driving Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road with a carful of friends. So I was instantly struck by the July 22 Monitor Weekly article “Glacier National Park ... without glaciers?

If, as correspondent Doug Struck suggests, the glaciers’ legacy is up to park visitors, let us hope the fast-dwindling ice fields become the “nettlesome symbol” of what we’ve lost, “pricking our conscience as did the once-dying bald eagle and motivating action.” 

Why We Wrote This

Letters to the editor for the August 5, 2019 weekly magazine.

Perhaps that will lead us to stop the retreat and restore the glaciers as a key link in the mountain ecosystem. As park visitors and citizens, we must face climate realities.

Alan Willis
Portland, Oregon

Climate change and fossils

I was disappointed to read the June 24 Monitor Weekly article “How T. rex can make you think about the future,” which reviewed the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s new fossil hall. 

It was fine to learn of this impressive presentation of fossil remains of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. But to connect it to a questioning of the speed with which most scientists say climate change is happening misses the point.

The past climate changes the hall describes came about from totally natural causes. The present climate change that scientists are warning about is brought about by man-made carbon emissions. It is drastically faster and leaves mankind little time to remove carbon from the Earth’s atmosphere.

Donna Mummery
Whanganui, New Zealand

Latin nouns

Thank you to Melissa Mohr for the very clear explanation of some commonly used Latin nouns in the June 24 “In a Word” column, “Confused by plural nouns? Blame Latin.” I found myself mentally rehearsing the alumnus/alumni categories because I think I finally understand the different uses!

I do wonder about one of my favorite TV space androids. Is he a collection of advanced technologies, or shall I start thinking of this singular fellow as Datum?

Suzanne Montgomery
Spokane, Washington

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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.”

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