Optical fibers, the enablers of the Internet, are being used in an ever more diverse array of applications. Many of the rapidly growing deployments of fibers are in high-power and, particularly, high power-per-unit-bandwidth systems where well-known optical nonlinearities have historically not been especially consequential in limiting overall performance. Today, however, nominally weak effects, most notably stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS) and stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) are among the principal phenomena restricting continued scaling to higher optical power levels. In order to address these limitations, the optical fiber community has focused dominantly on geometry-related solutions such as large mode area (LMA) designs. Since such scattering, and all other linear and nonlinear optical phenomena including higher order mode instability (HOMI), are fundamentally materials-based in origin, this paper unapologetically advocates material solutions to present and future performance limitations. As such, this paper represents a ‘call to arms’ for material scientists and engineers to engage in this opportunity to drive the future development of optical fibers that address many of the grand engineering challenges of our day.