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5 TED Talks about poverty you need to watch

TED Talk stage
Steve Jurvetson / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

More than 45 million Americans – nearly 16 million of them children – live below the poverty line.

And poverty isn't just a U.S. issue. It's a global problem, affecting nearly half of the world's population, according to

But how much do we really know about what causes poverty, its implications and how to fix it? Explore these ideas with these 5 TED Talks:

1. How America's public schools keep kids in poverty

Schools in low-income neighborhoods across the U.S., specifically in communities of color, lack resources that are standard at wealthier schools. Kandice Sumner sees the disparity and how it impacts students’ potential every day in her classroom.

2. Social experiments to fight poverty

Clark Medal-winner Esther Duflo says it's possible to know which development efforts help alleviate poverty – and which hurt – by testing solutions with randomized trials.

3. The story we tell about poverty isn't true

Mia Birdsong suggests that if we want to end poverty, we need to start by honoring the skills, drive and initiative that poor people bring to the struggle every day.

4. The economic injustice of plastic

Van Jones lays out a case against plastic pollution from the perspective of social justice. He shows us how plastic trash hits poor people and poor countries "first and worst," with consequences we all share.

5. Why do we jail people for being poor?

Half a million Americans are sitting in jail cells because they can't afford to post bail. Salil Dudani tells stories he's heard from people who have experienced Ferguson's "debtors' prison" firsthand, challenging us to think differently about imprisonment.

Paulette is a blogger for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously interned as a reporter in the Michigan Radio newsroom.
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