I saw two very interesting television programmes recently. The first was 'Tropic of Cancer', a travelogue presented by Simon Reeve. He followed the imaginary geographic line of the Tropic of Cancer around the world, visiting various countries and meeting the people there. He started in Mexico and went from there to the Bahamas, before crossing to the African continent and visiting the Sahara and travelling from there to Libya. He then proceeded to travel through Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, India, Bangladesh, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Taiwan before finishing in Hawaii.
There were so many issues arising from the programme- social problems, poverty, ecological and environmental problems. Most shocking was the moment when, at the end of the programme, Reeve visited a beach in Hawaii which was utterly polluted with litter and rubbish that had been washed up from the Pacific. Most of the litter was plastic, as plastic does not degrade but simply breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces. Instead of sand, the beach was 'made' of plastic. Even underneath the top level surface of plastic, there was more plastic beneath in the sand.
Here is a link to the 'Tropic of Cancer' programmes, I highly recommend: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n8vtk (may only work in the UK)
The second interesting programme I saw was 'Teenage Millionaires'. The programme introduced us to various rich teenagers around the world who had inherited their parents' wealth- a daddy's girl in Ohio, a Sheikh's teenage son in Saudi Arabia, an oligarch's daughter in Moscow and a hotel heiress in Bangkok, Thailand. All four of the teenagers were respectful, modest and well spoken in front of the cameras. What was evident was how much pressure there was on them from the parents- to continue the legacy, to be successful, to be an extension of their parents' success too. The oligarch in Moscow had created a fashion business with his daughter as the figurehead. The sheikh monitored his son's spending, to make sure he didn't waste money. The rich businessman in Ohio referred to his daughter as 'a fun project'. He had hired an Olympic athlete to train her in the gym, and a television actor to train her as an actress.
The curious thing was that I didn't feel envious of the rich kids. Ultimately, I felt sorry for them, which was remarkable.