5 TED Talks About Social Justice

Increased travel and advancements in technology have made it easier for people to see the interconnectedness of the world in which they live, and TED Talks about social justice emphasize how crimes that are inflicted on one vulnerable person or group can impact everyone else on earth.

Here are some of TED Talks' most thought-provoking conversations about social justice

#1 Noy Thrupkaew: Human Trafficking Is All Around You. This Is How It Works.

Noy Thrupkaew is an American journalist who has researched and written about the crimes of human trafficking that has touched nearly every nation on earth.

Thrupkaew's powerful piece highlights the fact that nearly 70 percent of human trafficking cases involve those whose labor has been exploited through fraudulent activities or coercion. The journalist opens the eyes of the public by connecting the trafficked workers' suffering with the cheap goods and services that are readily available to many people in the developed world. According to her research, human trafficking thrives in environments where certain people can be isolated and excluded from the normal protections that moral societies afford. Many trafficking victims are also discouraged from organizing themselves and informing others about the crimes that have been inflicted upon them.

Noy Thrupkaew's assessment of human trafficking is on target, and it is a must-view discussion for all righteous souls.

#2 Van Jones: the Economic Injustice of Plastic

Van Jones describes the harm that is done to the poor through the production, use and disposal of plastics. He also points out that the problem impacts poor populations first but eventually is felt by everyone else. An example that he gave was the deliberate use of Asian lands for dirty recycling practices and the pollution that has reached California from those facilities. This Ted Talks discussion implies that the production and use of disposable products eventually leads to an attitude that the earth and many of its people are disposable. This is the mindset that Van Jones wants to expose and eliminate.

#3 Ann Cooper: What's Wrong With School Lunches

Ann Cooper, who is a director of California-area school lunch programs, shows the correlation between the increasing instances of disease in today's youth with what they eat regularly in schools. She is on a mission to educate children about the importance of eating locally-grown whole, nutritious foods to keep their bodies healthy and preserve resources on earth. She encourages everyone from teachers, parents and community leaders to reinforce the message to children about which foods are beneficial and which ones are harmful. She put words into action when she introduced fresh salad bars to schools under her directorship.

#4 Myriam Sidibe: The Simple Power of Hand Washing

While many in the medical world are looking for high technology solutions to fight diseases, Myriam Sidibe gives a down-to-earth reminder that many of the world's most vulnerable people die from not washing their hands. Sidibe points out that 6.6 million children under the age of five die of communicable diseases that could have been prevented by developing the habit of hand washing. She calls on industry to use their marketing prowess and a portion of their profits to promote the habit of hand washing throughout the world. The ideal results are fewer deaths now and more people around in the future to purchase commercial products.

#5 Mark Bittman: What's Wrong With What We Eat

While Ann Cooper's vision is to educate children about the value of real foods, Mark Bittman's educational message about food is for adults. He strives to wake up the population about the foods that they consume regularly by pointing out that the nation's supply of antibiotics are mostly used on livestock and not people. Subsequently, nearly everybody who consumes meat ingests antibiotics that destroy good bacteria and cause diseases. Like Cooper, he encourages the consumption of locally-grown produce over meats and processed junk foods.


While many social injustices occur because poor people are forced to choose products that are cheap and dangerous, some happen through a simple lack of education. Prominent themes of many of the TED Talks about social justice are to provide widespread education and make healthier options available to everyone.