If you read the news every day, it's easy to become immune to the sort of stories that are splashed across the front page.
It's true that reports of environmental decay, political corruption and heinous violations of human rights don't make for cocktail-party fodder; they don't have the requisite happy endings or neat solutions that most people crave.
But that doesn't mean that they should be swept under the rug.
Here, we've made a list of some of the most pressing world issues that deserve way more attention.
Tune in to VICE on HBO this Friday, March 14 at 11pm and follow their correspondents as they cover all the stories that everyone should be talking about.
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Guess what? Climate change is not going away. In fact, according to a leaked U.N. report
, Greenland’s melting ice added six times more to sea levels in the decade through 2011 than in the previous 10 years. VICE
's Shane Smith embarks on an expedition to Greenland with climate scientist Jason Box to investigate why Greenland is melting and examine the effects that the rising sea level will have on our planet.
Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images
This issue gained a lot of attention in the run-up to the Olympics in Sochi, but many people don't realize just how deep anti-gay sentiment in Russia runs. You've probably heard that the Duma has passed "anti-propaganda" laws that ban the distribution of materials about "non-traditional sexual relations" to minors, which essentially means you can be arrested
for expressing any sort of pro-gay sentiment. What you hear less about is the sheer violence, about a culture in which blasphemy is illegal and gays are beaten, arrested after being attacked, and even killed. As Vice News
reported in January, "Russia's LGBT community [has gone] from being a stigmatized fringe group to full-blown enemies of the state."
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Following the catastrophic tsunami of 2011, three out of six out of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant melted down. Residents within a 12 mile radius were evacuated, but a nuclear expert in Japan reports
that the current situation is much worse than the Japanese government is willing to admit -- and getting worse.
Sajjad Hussain via Getty Images
According to the statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau
, a rape occurs every 20 minutes in India. When the story of the Delhi bus gang rape broke in 2012, international attention turned to sexual violence that has stemmed from a patriarchal society and culture of blaming the victim both in Delhi and in the Indian countryside. The Additional Solicitor General of India, Indira Jaisingh, has said
that the current rape laws in the country are inadequate and that the "process of justice delivery is too slow and the rate of conviction too low." VICE
correspondent Gelareh Kiazand embeds with rural women to see how they are banding together to fight against this injustice.
Child workers are being exposed to highly toxic mercury, which is used to process gold ore but is widely known to cause both brain and nerve damage. Child labor, burning mercury, and most small-scale gold mining is banned in Indonesia and Philippines
-- so why are all of these practices rampant?
Corruption, payoffs, and lack of regulation.
The world has watched as Detroit, once a center of American manufacturing and industry, has fallen into ruins. City officials report
that at least 78,000 buildings have been vacated, and illegal scrapping has become rampant. VICE
's David Choe looks into the life cycle of scrap metal, from the people that dangerously risk their lives to find it, to the yards that buy the metal, all the way to the Chinese traders who take it back home to build their economy.
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The National Security Administration (NSA) is gathering data
on a third of domestic calls in the United States, down from 2006, when the agency was collecting "closer to 100" percent of American phone records. The government has had trouble tracking cell phone data but may seek court orders to get wireless carriers to hand over their records, according to sources cited in the Washington Post.
Rio de Janeiro, a city that is unfortunately synonymous with drugs and murder in the public imagination, is trying to clean up its act for this year's World Cup and the Olympics in 2016. The Special Police Operations Battalion (BOPE) has descended on the slums, or favelas
, to manage the violence, but they themselves have resorted to violent gang tactics and extortion to do so, and gang activity in the favelas persists. Is Rio really ready for its close-up? VICE
correspondent Ben Anderson goes to Rio to reveal the dark underbelly of the city.