This path-breaking book brings together startling photographs by 18 top photojournalists on the major issues of our time. David Elliot Cohen, co-creator of the Day in the Life and America 24/7 series of books, came up with the concept of What Matters. As he notes in the introduction, photo-essays have over the course of the last century and a half proven their ability not only to document but to actually change the course of human events. These photos are accompanied by commentary by experts and the intent is to animate us to action. The book concludes with 193 ways to learn more and get involved, complete with a menu of resources, web links, and suggested actions.

What Matters covers 18 big issues of our time, including:

  • Photographer Gary Braasch and climate-change author Bill McKibben present "Meltdown: A Global Warming Travelogue"
  • Photographer Gerd Ludwig and author David Marples explore "Fallout: The Enduring Tragedy of Chernobyl"
  • Photographer Marcus Bleasdale along with writers Samantha Power and John Prendergast take us to "The Scorched Earth of Darfur"
  • Photographer James Nachtwey and writer Jeffrey Sachs probe global poverty in "The Bottom Billion: How We Can End Global Poverty."
  • Photographer Stephanie Sinclair and writer Judith Bruce reveal the "Lost Girls: The Child Brides of Afghanistan, Nepal and Ethiopia"

Other topics covered are environmental degradation in China, genocide, safe water, global jihad, the Iraq war, consumer culture, the rural-urban migration, child labor, oil addiction, the immigration crisis, AIDS in Africa, malaria, and a portrait of a philanthropist.