issues

5 Issues That Don’t Get Enough Attention

Hopper is opinions editor for TIME Ideas.

And why we should address them

Here are five issues that should get more love—or hate—this election.

Shipping
Ninety percent of all we use—shirts, phones, disposable coffee cups and the beans therein—have traveled around the world on ships burning one of the dirtiest fuels by the ton. According to Edward Humes, author of Door to Door, 160 of these ships create the same amount of smog and particulate pollution as all the cars in the world. The fleet is 6,000 large.

Charter schools
A recent Brookings Institute study of Massachusetts lottery charter programs found that urban schools cut the racial achievement gap by a third in a year and, as is the trend in cities nationwide, raised the test scores and college-attendance rates of disadvantaged students (though only them).

Gerrymandering
In 2012, Democrats received 1.4 million more votes than Republicans for the House of Representatives. Yet the GOP won control of the House by a wide margin, in part because districts tend to be drawn up not to benefit communities with shared needs, but to ensure that the party designing the districts will have its power overrepresented.

The wilderness
Since 1993, 1.3 million sq. mi. of wilderness—10% of what’s left on earth—has disappeared, mostly plundered by lumbering or oil and gas exploration. Scientists recently found that in less than a century, there could be no wilderness left—nowhere for untouched evolution or natural carbon storage, or human escape.

Public-sector jobs
Government jobs are being cut. As of 2013, over half of workers left—in infrastructure, police, transit—were ages 45 to 64. Meanwhile, a 2013 poll found that not even 6% of college-age millennials planned to enter the sector right after college. Together, critical functions for everyday life may soon be even more undermanned.

Hopper is opinions editor for TIME Ideas.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary on events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors.

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