playlist

Why climate change is a human rights issue

Learn about the ways climate change is deeply altering how we live, where we live and the foods we eat — ultimately threatening some of our most basic human rights.

  1. 21:47
    Mary Robinson Why climate change is a threat to human rights

    Climate change is unfair. While rich countries can fight against rising oceans and dying farm fields, poor people around the world are already having their lives upended — and their human rights threatened — by killer storms, starvation and the loss of their own lands. Mary Robinson asks us to join the movement for worldwide climate justice.

  2. 21:15
    Anote Tong My country will be underwater soon — unless we work together

    For the people of Kiribati, climate change isn't something to be debated, denied or legislated against — it's an everyday reality. The low-lying Pacific island nation may soon be underwater, thanks to rising sea levels. In a personal conversation with TED Curator Chris Anderson, Kiribati President Anote Tong discusses his country's present climate catastrophe and its imperiled future. "In order to deal with climate change, there's got to be sacrifice. There's got to be commitment," he says. "We've got to tell people that the world has changed."

  3. 13:21
    Kelsey Leonard Why lakes and rivers should have the same rights as humans

    Water is essential to life. Yet in the eyes of the law, it remains largely unprotected — leaving many communities without access to safe drinking water, says legal scholar Kelsey Leonard. In this powerful talk, she shows why granting lakes and rivers legal "personhood" — giving them the same legal rights as humans — is the first step to protecting our bodies of water and fundamentally transforming how we value this vital resource.

  4. 13:00
    Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim Indigenous knowledge meets science to solve climate change

    To tackle a problem as large as climate change, we need both science and Indigenous wisdom, says environmental activist Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim. In this engaging talk, she shares how her nomadic community in Chad is working closely with scientists to restore endangered ecosystems — and offers lessons on how to create more resilient communities.

  5. 12:12
    Cheryl Holder The link between climate change, health and poverty

    For the poor and vulnerable, the health impacts of climate change are already here, says physician Cheryl Holder. Unseasonably hot temperatures, disease-carrying mosquitoes and climate gentrification threaten those with existing health conditions, while wealthier people move to higher ground. In an impassioned talk, Holder proposes impactful ways clinicians can protect their patients from climate-related health challenges — and calls on doctors, politicians and others to build a care system that incorporates economic and social justice.

  6. 12:47
    Colette Pichon Battle Climate change will displace millions. Here's how we prepare

    Scientists predict climate change will displace more than 180 million people by 2100 — a crisis of "climate migration" the world isn't ready for, says disaster recovery lawyer and Louisiana native Colette Pichon Battle. In this passionate, lyrical talk, she urges us to radically restructure the economic and social systems that are driving climate migration — and caused it in the first place — and shares how we can cultivate collective resilience, better prepare before disaster strikes and advance human rights for all.

  7. 11:00
    Kristie Ebi How climate change could make our food less nutritious

    Rising carbon levels in the atmosphere can make plants grow faster, but there's another hidden consequence: they rob plants of the nutrients and vitamins we need to survive. In a talk about global food security, epidemiologist Kristie Ebi explores the potentially massive health consequences of this growing nutrition crisis — and explores the steps we can take to ensure all people have access to safe, healthy food.

  8. 14:33
    Tshering Tobgay An urgent call to protect the world's "Third Pole"

    The Hindu Kush Himalaya region is the world's third-largest repository of ice, after the North and South Poles — and if current melting rates continue, two-thirds of its glaciers could be gone by the end of this century. What will happen if we let them melt away? Environmentalist and former Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay shares the latest from the "water towers of Asia," making an urgent call to create an intergovernmental agency to protect the glaciers — and save the nearly two billion people downstream from catastrophic flooding that would destroy land and livelihoods.

  9. 12:49
    Van Jones The economic injustice of plastic

    When we throw away our plastic trash, where does it go? In this hard-hitting talk, Van Jones shows us how our throwaway culture hits poor people and poor countries "first and worst," with consequences we all share no matter where we live. He offers some ways to reclaim our planet from plastic garbage.

  10. 15:57
    Marla Spivak Why bees are disappearing

    Honeybees have thrived for 50 million years, each colony 40 to 50,000 individuals coordinated in amazing harmony. So why, seven years ago, did colonies start dying en masse? Marla Spivak reveals four reasons which are interacting with tragic consequences. This is not simply a problem because bees pollinate a third of the world's crops. Could this incredible species be holding up a mirror for us?

  11. 17:49
    Pamela Ronald The case for engineering our food

    Pamela Ronald studies the genes that make plants more resistant to disease and stress. In an eye-opening talk, she describes her decade-long quest to isolate a gene that allows rice to survive prolonged flooding. She shows how the genetic improvement of seeds saved the Hawaiian papaya crop in the 1990s — and makes the case that modern genetics is sometimes the most effective method to advance sustainable agriculture and enhance food security for our planet’s growing population.