51. Green Company Policies. Some companies are making heroic efforts to promote corporate environmental responsibility. In other companies, there is a “green wall” erected between the environmentalists and the rest of the company. Consider specific, higher risk industries, such as chemical production or logging.
- Is environmentalism cost-effective?
- Should cost-effectiveness be a deciding factor in choosing environmental approaches?
- Is it worth losing hundreds of jobs to save one species from extinction?
- Are we damaging the environment beyond repair?
Consider short-term and long-term effects. You might want to find specific cases.
52. Greenhouse Effect. Modern technology is blamed for causing damage to the ozone layer miles above the Earth. Developed nations have agreed to stop producing many offending products but have not convinced developing nations to do the same. Start with the causes of the greenhouse effect.
- How did it come about?
- What can be done to correct it?
- How does it affect us?
- How can individuals help?
Consider researching a single aspect of this enormous problem; for example:
- The greenhouse effect is the cause of the warming weather conditions.
- The greenhouse effect will cause universal flooding as the polar ice caps melt.
53. Gun Control. Most people have very strong views on gun control, both for and against, and are not willing to consider the opposite point of view. To write a persuasive paper, be sure you research both sides of the issue. For every topic, you can argue better if you know what the other side believes. Following are common arguments about gun control:
- Weapons don’t kill; people kill. The only purpose of a handgun is to shoot someone.
- If guns weren’t legal, criminals would still find a way to get them. Up to 70 percent of guns used by felons are stolen from private homes.
- Our constitutional right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment. The medical cost of gun violence is $4.5 billion per year.
Proposed compromises include waiting periods before purchasing and “smart” guns. You may want to address these.
54. Hazardous Waste. Refine your topic to a single small issue within a type of hazardous waste; for example, disease and medical waste or White Sands, NM and nuclear radiation. Other possible issues are:
- Nuclear waste: Is the energy produced worth the waste product it creates?
- Medical or chemical waste
- Contaminated waste sites: Who is responsible for the waste: the government, the current owner of the site, or the owner that produced the contamination?
- Household garbage
- Contaminated water
- Effect of hazardous waste on wildlife
- Effect of hazardous waste on human health
55. Health Care Reform. Many other countries have universal health insurance. Should everyone in the United States be insured? Are there tradeoffs, such as higher taxes, a limited selection of doctors available, or poorer quality of medical care? Consider the health care reform plans.
- What would be best, HMOs, PPOs, or an extension of Medicare? Compare them.
- Are HMOs infringing on individuals’ rights, second guessing doctors, or making decisions based solely on cost?
- Would universal health care stifle medical research because it costs too much?
56. Homelessness. Consider causes, such as lack of affordable housing, drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness, disabilities, lack of employment opportunities, and health issues. You may think of others:
- What could be done to minimize these problems?
- Can homelessness be prevented?
- Should panhandling be allowed?
- What is the responsibility of citizens to remedy this problem? What is the responsibility of the government? The private social services agencies?
- Are Americans losing sympathy for the homeless?
- How can citizens help with this problem?
57. Honor System in Colleges. Term papers are for sale on the Internet. Faculty members are requiring students to submit copies of their information sources to prove that they themselves did the work. It is easier than ever to copy someone else’s test by downloading it onto a disk.
- Has the diminishing moral fiber of the United States made the honor systems?
- Is the U.S. public desensitized to the subject of cheating?
- Does an honor system increase or decrease the chance of cheating?
Many colleges post their honor codes online. You will find some by searching for the college name and honor or integrity.
58. Human Rights and Prisoners. First, you will have to focus your topic on prisoners in the United States or those in other countries. This list concentrates on prisoners in the United States:
- Are prisons too comfortable? Or too dangerous? In your search, much of what you will find will concern prisoners in other countries.
- For certain types of inmates, prisons may be especially dangerous. The young, or those who look young, and the gay may find themselves prey to sexual molesters. People imprisoned for certain types of crimes may be subjected to retaliation in prison. A racial minority may be persecuted. Should these people receive “separate but equal” treatment?
- Should prisoners retain their constitutional rights? Try to identify constitutional rights and compare them with privileges.
- Human rights for prisoners may include religious rights (such as kosher food).
- Are some types of treatment, such as isolation, overcrowding, lack of privacy, or minimal health care, part of the punishment or an abuse of human rights?
59. Hunger. Although world hunger is often a hot issue, the local hunger problem is often ignored. You may want to limit your search to hunger in your area. If you do so, local resources (telephone interviews, local newspapers, and government agencies) may be your best resources. Your library will have plenty of information on this topic. Consider the various aspects of the problem:
- Are welfare programs and food stamps helping to alleviate hunger or enabling it by keeping people dependent?
- Are school lunch programs working?
- Many communities have local food pantries. Do they reach those in need?
- Is hunger temporary or a chronic problem for those who come for assistance?
- What are the repercussions of undernourishment for productivity, educational achievement, and crime?
- Can you think of a plan that would help alleviate this problem?
60. Immigration Reform. This broad topic covers both illegal and legal immigration, because many of the resources are the same. However, you should decide which interests you:
- What is the government doing to curtail the illegal entry of aliens into the United States?
- Should everyone be allowed to come to the United States? Will they take jobs that are currently unfilled or make it harder for U.S. citizens to find work?
- Is H1B, intended to bring in workers in needed fields, being abused by companies looking for those willing to accept lower pay?
- Are you interested in the plight of illegal immigrants in the United States?
- Should they be allowed to work?
- Should they be eligible for social services such as health care and food stamps?
- Are company owners using them so they can pay lower wages?
- Are they being abused, working long hours, and being kept in substandard accommodations because they have no recourse?
- Even if that is true, are they better off than they would be in their native countries?
- Should their children be educated in our school systems?
- What about child labor?