Eco-heroes in India

On June 6th, 2016, ‘The Guardian’ led on its first page with a big picture of Muhammad Ali. It was accompanied by 2 page spread inside and a 12 page special supplement on his life. Yesterday, its sister paper ‘The Observer’ devoted the first 5 pages of its main section plus an 8 page special supplement to the same story.
This was all about someone largely famous for punching people. True, he had a way with words too and his life reflected much that is significant in our times, most of all, of course, on-going racism in the USA and elsewhere.
Yet such coverage is surely way over the top. The press and broadcast news do focus on events rather than processes, colourful individuals not anonymous groups, and surface effects over underlying causes. Most of the ‘consumers’ clearly see things in similar terms or else media audiences would simply evaporate.
But truly significant issues and developments remain so, regardless of popular preferences. Climate change is a civilisation-changing phenomenon, of truly momentous proportions. The so-called ‘sixth extinction’ is unraveling the very web of life, as biodiversity collapses. War clouds are spreading in several areas. A new global recession seems all too likely. Yet the death of a boxer garners far, far more attention.
Still if news must focus on individuals, how about this for a story that combines real courage and inherent significance:

Women are leading protests in Tamil Nadu state against a power plant – yet few people in India know the village they’re from, let alone support their cause

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