The three topics I’ve been able to narrow ideas down to are reducing carbon emissions, how sexual assault cases are handled on college campuses, and protecting natural lands.
Topic one: reducing carbon emissions
Why is it important to reduce carbon emissions, and how can the US move toward lowering carbon emissions at the local and national level, including the effect of college campuses becoming more involved?
The motivation behind this idea is just that the US generally uses many dirty sources of energy, and with this Administration, there is a good chance the country won’t be taking very many steps to become more environmentally-friendly.
Information I’d be looking for is the effect of carbon emissions on climate change, health effects of air pollution, the effects of a cap on carbon emissions, current government regulations, how regulations can be improved, and the benefits of transitioning to cleaner sources of energy that produce less carbon. I’d also be looking for ways college campuses can make changes to emit less carbon, and the impacts of many colleges across the country taking these steps.
Arguments I’d expect to find would be the cost of transitioning to different forms of energy, the fact that many people disagree with the government placing regulations on things such as carbon emissions, and the cost-vs-reward for companies and colleges to take the steps to reduce their carbon emissions.
Topic two: sexual assault on college campuses
How is sexual assault handled on most college campuses by the different types of people there (professors, counselors, those in leadership positions, students, etc.), and how can it be improved?
The motivation behind this idea was seeing how many people chose sexual assault as a topic for either their website or other blog posts, articles we discussed in class, and also experiences of those close to me. Another motivating source was having someone point out that everyone on a college campus knows the severity of the consequences for academic dishonesty because of how much it is stressed, but how the severe consequences for assaulting someone are very rarely spoken about.
Information I’d be looking to find are some well-known cases, such as Emma Sulkowicz with her mattress, of sexual assault on college campuses, how the school handled the case, and how students reacted. I’d also be looking for possible reasons why many students don’t report what happens to them, and how the typical person on campus can make it less intimidating for victims to report the assaults, or at least more comfortable moving on with their lives afterwards, with or without reporting.
Arguments I’d expect to find is that many cases are a he-said/she-said, sometimes with very little evidence. There are also people who are quick to assume accusers are lying, which is a problem in and of itself that people will more easily defend the accused than someone who might have been assaulted. There also might be arguments between where the school’s responsibility ends and where the city police department’s responsibility begins. There are also problems with schools trying to protect their image by trying to brush these cases under the rug, or protecting high-profile students, like athletes. Another problem is a lack of serious punishment for such a serious crime, like with Brock Turner.
Topic three: protecting natural lands
Why is it important to protect natural lands?
The motivation for this idea is the backlash the EPA received from Trump for talking about environmental concerns, and some of the social media accounts that popped up in response. It is also because I have a personal interest in protecting natural lands and protecting wildlife, and I’ve heard about the possibility of some of these lands being sold for purposes that would degrade the land.
There is a lot of information I’d be looking to find, because I don’t really know too many details about the topic. I’d be looking for the importance of some specific ecosystems and why they need to be protected, the services that these lands provide, the impacts of destroying these lands, and the potential effects on surrounding lands from degrading land near it.
Potential arguments I’d expect to find are that people can do what they want with land, and it shouldn’t be reserved for a specific purpose, that there could be important resources in the land that would make a lot of money for specific companies or industries, and that the land might serve better purposes in the short-term, regardless of the long-term impacts.