Think futuristically ...What's ahead in 2011-2012
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PP#1 Sensory Overload Mailing Deadline: October 23
Musack, iPods, MP3 Players, cell phones, visual imagery, TV, advertising, the Internet, fusion food, exotic restaurants, sports entertainment, animated billboards, and flashing signs are just a few examples of the kinds of sensory input humans receive on a daily basis. The average supermarket has over 30,000 products and scientists have discovered that this overwhelming impact on our senses impacts our brainwaves. Our senses are continually overwhelmed in ways that would not have been thought possible in our grandparents' and great grandparents' era. Can criminal behavior or unstable mental health be blamed on sensory overload? How do schools cope when students are overwhelmed by this impact on their senses? Is there a link to the increasing frequency of severe food allergies among children? Do schools need to incorporate sensory overload issues in teacher training? Some cities have already implemented quiet zones or anti-billboard legislation. What is the likely impact of this sensory overload as it continues to be fueled by the need for more and more people to 'get their message across'?
PP#2 Invasive Species Mailing Deadline: December 18
Asian long horned beetles in New York, Australian wattles found in Africa, and Canadian geese in Europe-globalization has led to increased human travel and trade. As people move around more, they bring with them species of plants, animals, and diseases from their home regions, introducing these invasive species into non-native habitats. Such movement of species can harm ecosystems, economies, and human health. Can such harm be effectively mitigated through eradication and quarantine efforts, including mechanical, chemical, and biological controls? How much of a role should governments play in these efforts to determine which species may need eradication and which methods to use? Should these efforts be left to private businesses and organizations? What role will increased globalization and global climate change play in helping to address these concerns?
QP Orphaned Children Mailing Deadline: February 12
Throughout the world places exist where acts of man and acts of nature have conspired to create well over 100 million orphans who struggle to survive every day. Poverty and suffering are caused by famine, disease, poor economic conditions, social decay, lack of social infrastructure, and natural disasters. Whatever the reason for being orphaned, the results are the same for innocent children with no parents, no home, and diminished chances of survival. These children often live in doorways, makeshift tents, begging, stealing, or scrounging to find food to survive. While some live on the streets, others live in underground sewers for protection from the elements...alone and scared. Many live in crumbling orphanages where the children's food, medicine, and clothing reflect governments' meager contribution of sometimes just a penny per day per child. What can be done to change the conditions for these children? What will their future be? How do these situations affect the world as a whole? If we truly believe that children are our future, what can be done to generate sustainable opportunities for these children? Who should take the lead in creating these opportunities - nonprofits, governments, or businesses?
State Bowl Food Distribution TBA (March/April)
A global information and early warning system on food and agriculture was set up some years ago, but the two main elements of the system of food security - namely food reserves and a better deal for developing countries in agricultural trade - have made little progress. Unlike underdeveloped countries, the world's richer states could afford to pay for and manage a system of food security and have controlled the bulk of surplus grains around the world. Previously, they did not need the surplus for themselves, but now surpluses are shrinking as more grains are used for bio-fuels. How can we fairly and effectively make sure the world's poorer inhabitants are fed? Is it fair for the 'haves' to have to pay for the 'have-nots'? How will threats, such as terrorism, transportation disruptions, or technological failures impac the world's food supply in the future, and how should countries deal with these threats?
International Competition Green Living June 2010
If the global environment is to be saved for future generations, many experts warn that more of the world's citizens need to participate in "green living." This means using materials that reduce consumption of fossil fuels, and produce less waste. Homes, clothing, and other everyday items can be made of recycled materials. Alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power can be used in the home or office. But how necessary are these changes in the way people live? Do the benefits of change justify the economic costs and personal inconveniences of green living? What other consequences of change are likely to occur, and can these consequences be mitigated? If necessary, how can people be persuaded to change the way they live for the sake of the planet's future health and well-being?