Each episode of Why It Matters breaks down an issue that is shaping our world’s future. Join host Gabrielle Sierra as she speaks with the leaders and thinkers who are facing these questions head on. Fueled by the minds at the Council on Foreign Relations, Why It Matters brings some of the world’s most compelling stories home to you.
Here's the Latest Episode from Why It Matters:
As the effects of climate change move from scientific predictions to daily headlines, some investors have begun sounding the alarm about impending dangers to financial markets. In this episode, experts break down the intersection of climate change and the economy, and examine whether the persuasive power of the dollar can be leveraged in the fight for climate action.
Kate Mackenzie (Green Columnist, Bloomberg)
Michael Greenstone (Professor of Economics, University of Chicago)
For more information on this episode, visit us at cfr.org/podcasts/pricing-our-climate
Hosting the Olympics is a monumental undertaking that often leaves behind rusted stadiums and financial losses. So why do nations compete to do it? This episode examines the political history of the games, and the soft power that countries hope to gain by hosting them.
Jules Boykoff (Professor of Political Science, Pacific University)
Katharine Moon (Professor of Political Science, Wellesley College)
For more information on this episode, visit us at cfr.org/podcasts/hey-remember-olympics
Whether you think we are making history or repeating it, it’s safe to say we are living in a historic time. In this episode, Why It Matters asks three historians to weigh in on how to use the past to examine the present and make better choices for the future.
Richard N. Haass (President, Council on Foreign Relations)
Margaret MacMillan (Professor of History, University of Toronto)
Annette Gordon-Reed (Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History, Harvard Law School)
For more information on this episode, visit us at cfr.org/podcasts/living-history
The killing of George Floyd, the anti-racist protest movement that followed, and the administration’s response have shaken America, and reverberations can be felt across the globe. It is unclear what type of reform will follow the U.S. protests, but it is undeniable that the world is watching what happens closely.
Chika Oduah (Independent Multimedia Journalist)
Keith Richburg (Director, Journalism and Media Studies Center at the University of Hong Kong)
For more information on this episode, visit us at cfr.org/podcasts/world-watching-us
It is estimated that twenty to forty million people around the world are victims of human trafficking. Of these, the majority are trafficked for labor, and many of them are exploited in the United States.
Susy Andole (Voices of Hope, Anti-Trafficking Program, Safe Horizon)
Mark P. Lagon (Chief Policy Officer, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria)
Anita Teekah (Senior Director, Anti-Trafficking Program, Safe Horizon)
For more information on this episode, visit us at cfr.org/podcasts/human-cost-labor-trafficking
China is undertaking massive infrastructure projects across the world and loaning billions of dollars to developing nations. On paper, the objective is to build a vast trade network, but is China also exporting authoritarianism?
Jessica Chen Weiss (Associate Professor of Government, Cornell University)
Elizabeth C. Economy (C. V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies)
For more information on this episode, visit us at cfr.org/podcasts/exporting-authoritarianism
Roughly four hundred million people in India use the encrypted messaging platform WhatsApp. Now, the country’s ruling party is trying to force WhatsApp to let the government trace and censor messages. The outcome could change digital freedoms in the world’s largest democracy, and could have strong implications for the future of privacy everywhere.
Seema Mody (Global Markets Reporter, CNBC)
Vindu Goel (Technology and Business Reporter, New York Times)
Chinmayi Arun (Resident Fellow, Yale University)
For more information on this episode, visit us at cfr.org/podcasts/whatsapp-india
What’s the true cost of cheap clothes? Fast fashion has become a multibillion-dollar industry in recent decades, reshaping the world’s shopping habits. But the industry’s low prices disguise a staggering environmental cost.
Elizabeth Segran (Senior Staff Writer, Fast Company)
Linda Greer (Senior Global Fellow, Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs Beijing China)
Amber Valletta (Activist, and founder, Master & Muse)
For more information on this episode, visit us at cfr.org/podcasts/wearing-world-out
Is the coronavirus a zero-sum game in which we must choose between saving lives and saving the economy? In this episode, we sit down with two experts to find out.
Now more than ever, it’s clear that global problems can become local in a flash. In season two, Why It Matters dives into a new set of challenges that will shape our lives in the years to come.
The worldwide spread of the new coronavirus has pulled back the curtain on the vulnerabilities of our interconnected world. Now we are left asking some basic questions. What lessons have we learned so far?
Sylvia Burwell, former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
Tom Frieden, former Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Rana Foroohar, Global Business Columnist and Associate Editor, Financial Times
Shannon O’Neil, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
You’re making the rounds at a party when someone asks you about NATO. Is it still important? The alliance is credited with preventing a third world war, but a lot of us don’t know what it is or how it works. This episode takes a look at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization from the ground up, paired best with a cold drink.
As climate change accelerates, some scientists are researching ways to alter our climate to slow down warming. But the method, called solar geoengineering, comes with some serious risks.
David Keith (Harvard University)
Shuchi Talati (Union of Concerned Scientists)
Gernot Wagner (New York University)
The aftershocks of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election are still being felt today. Is the United States ready for 2020?
Militaries around the world are designing artificial intelligence–powered weapons that could one day make their own decisions about who to target. The technology could change warfare, but at what cost?
At the start of the new year, the Why It Matters team takes a look at some of the best interview segments that didn’t make it into the episodes.
Antibiotics have saved untold millions of lives, but bacteria are learning to outsmart them at alarming rates. Projections show that by 2050, ten million people could die each year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Space is getting crowded. The biggest challenge is space junk—the debris that results when satellites break up or get shot down. If we aren’t careful, space junk, and space conflict, could cause a lot of problems down here on Earth.
Women and girls are excluded from career paths in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This gender gap is causing the world to lose out on “the genius of half the population,” according to former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith.
For years, China processed more than half of the world’s recycling. Then, in 2018, it stopped. Things have gotten messy since then.
The U.S. president can launch a first-strike nuclear attack at any time, and there’s no law mandating they seek advice first. Some experts think that’s too much power to put in one person’s hands.
We all worry about not understanding the problems that are shaping our world. Why It Matters is a story-driven podcast that gives you the tools you need to understand where things are headed. Fueled by the minds at the Council on Foreign Relations, and hosted by a journalist who is learning alongside you, the podcast weaves together conversations with the leaders and thinkers who are facing these problems head on.