Points of Progress: Fair trade coffee thanks to blockchain, and more

Reuters
Women sort coffee beans before packaging in Sidama, Ethiopia, on Nov. 30, 2018.

Ethiopia

A coffee roastery is using blockchain to track its bean supply and help farmers keep profits.The Moyee brand assigns its coffee farmers digital IDs, which allows buyers to track where their coffee is from and how much the farmers were paid for it via blockchain – a permanent digital record. This ensures that coffee is ethically sourced, an industry-wide issue. Using blockchain to track produce may soon be applied similarly in Caribbean nations, where many fruits are grown. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

World

AP/File
A coal seam is exposed at a mine near Decker, Montana, in 2013.

Why We Wrote This

This is more than feel-good news – it's where the world is making concrete progress. A roundup of positive stories to end your week.

Scientists found a new way to pull CO2  from the air and turn it into solid coal. In a report, an international team of scientists based in Australia detailed a groundbreaking carbon sequestration method. While the idea of removing CO2  from the atmosphere to mitigate climate change has existed for years, previous methods were expensive or unlikely to have scalable applications outside laboratories. The new method uses an electrically charged liquid metal catalyst to continually convert CO2  in the air into flakes of coal. (Nature Communications)

Costa Rica

A new institution is giving a second chance to adults who never graduated high school. La Escuela Costarricense de Oportunidades (The Costa Rican School of Opportunities) is a free private school in San José that offers evening and afternoon classes in subject material corresponding to Grades K through 12. Many Costa Ricans leave school at an early age, never to return. The school’s founders hope to close that educational attainment gap to improve the job prospects of learners. (The Tico Times)

Indonesia

In 2017, the country reduced its deforestation rates and now qualifies for a results-based payment from Norway this year. In 2010, the two countries agreed to a framework established under the Paris Accord in which developed countries pay developing nations to conserve forest areas. Indonesia was one of the few tropical nations to reduce its deforestation rates, thanks to government efforts to curb the destruction of forests, weather that prevented forest fires, and low palm oil prices in the global market. (World Resources Institute)

United States

Reuters
The United Nations building overlooks the East River in New York.

At its headquarters in New York, the United Nations convened a panel of experts to address sexual harassment within the organization. The UN has faced reports of sexual misconduct for years, both among its staff and in the field. A series of high-profile accusations of sexual abuse made against UN peacekeepers in Africa was one catalyst for the call for change. The panel is part of long-awaited efforts to increase overall transparency in how the UN handles incidents of sexual misconduct. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

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.