TED Conversations

Bruno Giussani

European Director, TED


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Which relevant/important events currently unfolding around the world are being ignored by the media? Why are they relevant?

Open a newspaper or watch a newscast, and along with a couple of important news (say, Egypt and Tunisia) and a couple of surprising and insightful stories, you will read or hear a lot of irrelevant stuff. Yet world-changing and life-altering events are happening all the time around the world - just not where the media are focusing their lenses (I'm not suggesting active censorship here - just a structural problem in the way "news" is identified, selected and distributed). What are the events currently unfolding, anywhere in the world, of any kind, that are 1) underreported 2) regionally or globally truly relevant 3) may have a broad impact and 4) people should know about?


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    Feb 20 2011: One of the issues that's really struck me over the years is the amount of people who continue to die from easily-solved water-related issues (see washinitiative.org/ for more on that). We can fly to the moon, yet 1 billion people -- that's 1 out of every 6 people on earth -- still don't have access to safe drinking water. It's incredible, and solvable. Yet we hear so little about it.

    Another critical yet under-reported story is how western consumption drives human rights abuses in poorer countries. We all know about blood diamonds (thanks to Leonardo di Caprio), but less heralded are the stories of major international oil companies like Exxon and Shell enabling militaries and paramilitaries who have destroyed villages in Indonesia and Nigeria. And the hundreds of communities across India rallying against Coca-Cola, whose bottling plants are drying up the groundwater that feeds their wells and fields. And the deadliest war since World War II -- the conflict in the Congo known as "Africa's World War" -- is fueled in large part by lucrative sales of coltan, the mineral needed to produce cell phones, laptops, and other electronics. And don't even get me started on how western farm subsidies destroy markets in Africa, keeping farmers there poorer than they otherwise would be!

    I guess the bottom line story is this: we are all connected now -- how can we ensure it's for better and not for worse?

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