Climate change chief dossier: Christiana Figueres

UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres is a long distance runner and constant traveler who calls wherever she is "home." Here is a thumbnail profile.

Osama Faisal/AP
United Nations Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres addresses the opening of the high-level segment of the annual UN climate talks involving environment ministers and climate officials from nearly 200 countries, in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012.

UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres is profiled in the Sept. 22, 2014 Christian Science MonitorWeekly magazine. Here are some distilled data points on the Costa Rican diplomat charged with guiding international agreements to halt global warming.

Education: Swarthmore, BS in anthropology; London School of Economics and Political Science, MS in anthropology

Languages: Spanish, English, German 

Last books read: “My Samoan Chief,” by Fay G. Calkins; “Love Letter to the Earth,” by Thich Nhat Hanh

Average time on the road per month: 2 weeks

Where she considers home: “Wherever I am” (usually a hotel)

Personal car: Toyota Prius

Official car: Toyota Prius

Home utilities: 100 percent renewable energy (in a Bonn apartment building)

Green habit: recycles trash at home into four containers 

Bike: Scott Sportster (hybrid city/mountain)

Last race run: Bonn (Germany) half marathon (2013), in 2 hours 38 minutes

Favorite food: Thai (preferably in Bangkok, and always vegetarian)

Most exotic food eaten in her travels: worms (in Cameroon), snake and caterpillars (in Costa Rica)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

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.