PROBLEM SOLVING CARDS
Population and Consumption
You notice that your natural resources are becoming overused and studies indicate that your society is consuming more that can be sustained in the long term. Do you consider the needs of future generations? How do you deal with a growing population and the overconsumptive habits of your society?
You must come up with an energy policy. Your ship was a nuclear ship and the equipment could be adapted for the production of nuclear power. You also have oil reserves right off your Western coast that you can tap and internal combustion engines from the ship. And you have the capability to build windmills, solar collectors and steam generators. You have your forests and you have a student that has studied energy efficient architecture. What are the pros and cons of each of the sources of energy? For what purposes will you need energy? How will you generate this energy?
International Finance and Debt
Representatives have visited you from another planet. They explain that although they cannot take you to their planet, they can assist you in improving yours. They will lend you the money and machinery to enable you to produce 10 times as much on your fields if in return you will grow and sell the crops needed by their society and if, once you have made enough money, you will repay them at 10% annual interest.
Remember, many of the fields that produce a variety of foods for your people will now get planted with cash crops for export. And these fields, because they are planted with one crop, may require pesticides and artificial fertilizers. Also, the visitors wish to lend the money to the most well off in your society to protect their investment, so the land holdings of these individuals may grow and force others to sell their land and become workers on the big farms. What are the pros and cons of this offer? Do you accept this offer? Why or why not?
Some people want to devote themselves to philosophical thinking, poetry, art
and spiritual development. Are these valid ways to make a living in your society? Are they contributing to society? How could such contributions be acknowledged or rewarded? Are there other types of non-material work that should be acknowledged or rewarded? What does it mean to be a healthy and productive citizen?
PROBLEM SOLVING CARDS
Some of the members of your group had various social problems, e.g. drug
addiction and mental illness when you arrived. These people do not work very hard, at least for now, and need special medical care and psychological help.
Will the other members of the society provide for these individuals' needs? How and for how long?
Guns and Butter
It is rumored that not far from you is an island of people who are very dangerous. Of all your time and resources, what percentage are you willing to devote to preparing to defend yourselves? What activities, services, luxuries might be cut in order to provide for your defense? Would you want a standing army, armed and ready to fight at any moment? Who would serve in an army were you to need one? What are the pros and cons to having a more "defense based" economy?
You have just found out that in a remote area of the island (a place with fantastic groves of mango and banana) there exists a tribe of people native to this island. It is also rumored that the ground underneath this tribe is rich in coal deposits. You could use coal as a fuel for your new machines; what should you do?
Will you ask the tribe to join your culture and share the resources? Will you leave them alone? Will you remain separate but establish peaceful relations? Will you ask them to move? Give them another part of the island? How will you deal with these 'new' people and their resources?
Water pollution has become a serious problem. The streams that flow on your island are quickly becoming unsafe for swimming and fishing. In fact, 1/3 of the fish population has died off from pollution. The causes of the pollution are many: pesticide and fertilizer run-off from farms; oil and coolant run-off from cars; waste from factories; erosion and manure from overgrazing cattle; and litter.
How has water been treated as a free good? Develop a plan to deal with water pollution. What are the trade-offs to your plan? Who should be involved in making this plan?