Readers write: Eco-friendly choices, Estonia’s music, and more

Letters to the editor for the Nov. 18, 2019 weekly magazine. Readers discuss solutions for climate change, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, and more.

Eco-friendly activities

Regarding “For the birds: Can humans turn empathy into solutions?” in the Oct. 7 Monitor Weekly: The decrease in the world’s bird population is alarming. In 2013, I even blogged about seeing fewer of them.

There are things humans can do to help. For example, I let my Johnson grass go to seed. The painted buntings love it. I plant milkweed for the monarch butterflies. I have rocks in my birdbath so the bees can drink without drowning. My purple martin house was home to six pairs this year, and countless hummingbirds stop by my sage bushes on their spring and fall migrations.

Pam Lampson
Corpus Christi, Texas

Estonia and music

Regarding “His music celebrates simplicity. So does the building in his honor” in the Aug. 19 & 26 Monitor Weekly: Thank you for sharing such a moving account of Arvo Pärt, a fine man and inspiring composer. My 12-hour visit to Estonia in 1992 was unforgettable. It included hearing a concert in a beautiful Lutheran church and walking up a hill to visit a government building. 

The love of choral singing was very apparent in Estonia. Mr. Pärt’s compositions evidence so much of the country’s quiet stillness as well as the vibrant life of its courageous people.

David Barker
Barnstaple, England 

Soul of the city

One of the Inklings in the Oct. 21 Monitor Weekly quoted former Puerto Rican Gov. Luis A. Ferré, reading, “A city without a newspaper is a city without a soul.” It is my belief that Mr. Ferré should have added, “as long as that soul is not manipulated by the newspaper.” Thanks for keeping up the good, reliable news.

Argeo T. Quinones-Droz
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Peace prize

Regarding “A peace prize befits Ethiopia’s leader” in the Oct. 28 Monitor Weekly: What a wonderful, beautiful editorial about a wonderful, beautiful man: Abiy Ahmed, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Ethiopian prime minister. His inspired, creative, and loving leadership has brought a sense of peace and harmony to a large area of Africa that has been without for so long. I was so inspired, chills ran up and down my spine! Thank you to the Monitor and to the writers for this editorial.

Daniel Overton
Bradenton-Sarasota, Florida

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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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