Amidst my morning ablutions, running about this morning buttoning a shirt with half of a bagel hanging out of my mouth, hurrying off to set these words to press, my flatmate stopped me in my rush. She was reading the news and wanted to know why it seemed like so many people were suddenly ending up in mining accidents. “Well, it’s not uncommon,” I said. “But I think we’ve just become sensitive to it again because of the Chilean miners.” We then started a lively debate about whether or not economic development in Latin America and East Asia would lead to more or fewer mining accidents in the future—all while I slowly backed out of the door, bagel still in mouth. Over the course of the day, I have heard no less than 17 Christine O’Donnell jokes. I laughed, groaned, ignored, until my mind went numb to external stimuli just to escape the monotony of the quips about witchcraft and masturbation (one contribution of the twenty-four hour news cycle: it has built an expressway to triteness). It was not until I read our cover story by Alex Smyk (9) that some failsafe in my brain switched over. As he discussed the plights facing individuals living in unstable climates and the possible grim future for environmental refugees, I remembered the morning’s conversation and I felt ashamed. I had let my world, my stress, and the blare of televisions and gabbing politicos around me pull me away from a constructive and challenging discourse; I had wiped it from my mind.
Alex’s article did exactly what a CPR article should—it challenged me to think about an issue that fell off of the radar, to reconsider the way I define refugees and the impact of climate change. After almost ten years of existence, we like to think the CPR has taken on a niche: We present a well-informed and thoughtful audience with views they may not otherwise encounter. We believe in providing views from both sides of the aisle, and delivered in the form of reporting, narrative, humor, and more. And it is to these ends that we have added two new sections to the magazine.
In A Modest Proposal, we offer a novel view on a vital issue—this time Mingming Feng asks us to take a page out of China’s book on green industry (27). And in our Interview section, we speak to a prominent political figure in utterly unpolitical ways—here we discuss the relevance of Vedic moral philosophies to modern governance with Gurcharan Das (23). I hope, on behalf of the staff at CPR, that the following articles will move you to think, to speculate wildly, and to enter into the kind of conversation we all need. Hey, we hope you start that conversation with us, either by writing a piece for our next issue or by responding to our articles in a letter to the editor or online at www.cpreview.org. But most of all, and here I speak mainly for myself, I hope that we can all move past these tired Christine O’Donnell jokes.