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The Energy Problem: Choices for an Uncertain Future (NIF Issue Guide)

One of the National Issues Forums Institute’s issue guides, The Energy Problem: Choices for an Uncertain Future outlines this public issue and several choices or approaches to addressing the issue. National Issues Forums do not advocate a specific solution or point of view, but provide citizens the opportunity to consider a broad range of choices, weigh the pros and cons of those options, and meet with each other in a public dialogue to identify the concerns they hold in common.

It seems clear that the America inhabited by our grandchildren will look different from the America of today. We need to address what aspects of our current lifestyle are important enough to keep and pass down, and what we could choose to do without. It is time to ask: How can we best meet our needs today without hampering our ability to meet those needs tomorrow?

This 12-page issue guide presents three possible options for deliberation:

Option One: Take Action to Repair and Protect Crucial Resources
Vital resources, such as clean water and agricultural land, are dwindling quickly, with ominous implications. Well-meaning individual efforts and neighborhood recycling programs are not enough to ward off looming catastrophe. We must take urgent measures, including government regulation and pressure on businesses to solve this problem.

Option Two: Focus the Power of Markets and Technological Innovation
While problems related to humanity’s overuse of natural resources are very real, many dire predictions in the past have been rendered irrelvant by technological and social advances. As long as the right incentives are in place, our resource-overspending problems have every chance for solution by inventors, entrepreneurs, and the market.

Option Three: Transform Our Culture
We need to reconnect with values that were once prized by most Americans: frugality, altruism, social connections, and living within one’s means. If we can do this, we’ll be healthier, happier, and more prosperous–and the planet and our communities will be in better shape too.

Read the report on this forum.

More about NIF issue guides…

NIFI’s issue guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. By intention, issue guides do not identify individuals or organizations with partisan labels, such as Democratic, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages readers to judge them on their merit.

NIFI offers various materials for each of the issues it produces issue guides on. The moderator guide or “guide to the forums” for each issue is available as a free download. Discussion guides (or “issue guides”) for participants are generally available in print or PDF download for a small fee ($2 to $4). DVD’s can also be purchased for some issues for just $6, for use at the beginning of your forums to introduce the topic and approaches.

All NIF issue guides and associated tools can be accessed at www.nifi.org/issue_books/.

Resource Link: www.nifi.org/issue_books/detail.aspx?catID=11&itemID=7743

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