Category Archives: Ideas & Essays

To what extent do modern communications isolate us, rather than connect us, to others?

Key words: ‘communications’ and ‘isolate’

• May not need to leave the house to communicate
• Lack of physical/human contact
• Can make contact with others in different countries across the world
• Can use network sites for arranging meetings or events
• Real conversation is replaced by the virtual
• The nature of friendship is trivialised
• Re-defines the nature of loneliness

How far can it be argued that wildlife tourism and zoos are the only ways to protect wild animals?

• Observing animals in conservation areas and zoos can encourage practical concern for their cousins in the wild
• Such tourism is vital for local economies
• As a last resort zoos can keep populations of wild animals that may disappear in the wild
• However zoos cannot retain the genetic variability of a wild population
• Threatened species need to attract cash to justify their protection and existence
• There can be zoos without bars
• Zoos and scientific research
• Questionable when animals are simply kept for the entertainment of the public
• The assumption of species superiority
• Animals have consciousness, sentience, and intentionality
• Their “natural” behaviours have to be recognised and catered for
• The captive breeding of threatened species
• Intense viewing of creatures can interrupt feeding patterns and cause stress
• Captive animals can provide a genetic “lifeboat” for those in the wild
• Opportunities to adopt an animal

Wildlife tourism is an organised excursion (or viewing) which takes place in the animals’ own habitat. A zoo is where an animal is caged and confined. Very good essays will consider alternative ways of protection and conservation.

What is now regarded as alternative medicine has been used in some cultures for centuries. Evaluate its relevance in the modern world.

• Serious research into the effectiveness of ginseng in improving lung function
• Science and experimental evidence and the attack on chiropractic practices
• Nothing scientific about homeopathy, iridology, kinesiology, acupuncture, reflexology etc.?
• The example of St John’s Wort in the treatment of mild to moderate depression – a herbal
medicine but it has been shown over many years to work
• Both camps can complement one another
• Evidence from personal experience of alternatives cannot be simply dismissed
• The holistic approach – diet, lifestyle etc.
• Working with the intrinsic energy system of the body
• Clinical jealousies, the preservation of medical power
• Corporate power of big Pharma
• The scientific paradigm versus subjective narratives and growing understanding of the
human body’s complex adaptive system
• Risks around safety, efficiency, and coordination of care
• The needs of an ageing population and the rise of chronic illnesses

‘There are alternative ways to feed the world other than through biotechnology such as genetically-modified (GM) crops.’ Discuss

• Mass hunger still exists alongside a huge food surplus
• Need to highlight the politics of food; ownership of resources, control of markets, and
decision-making power
• Respect for local practices; a blending of the traditional and the modern
• Consideration of GM/biotech claims re increased yields, resistance to disease and climate
• Some critics say yield gains have been minimal
• Technology may decrease biodiversity and contribute to the evolution of super weeds
• Consequent use of herbicides
• Why are people still hungry? Economic marginalisation and political impotence
• GM/bio can encourage neglect of other priorities; health, education, housing
• Support should be given to smallholder farmers and landless rural workers – agro-ecology
• Threat to organic farming
• The various ways in which we can grow food can exist harmoniously alongside one another
• GM rice and political opposition

‘Young people are sometimes treated as second-class citizens.’ How far would you agree?

Keywords: ‘Young people’ and ‘second-class citizens’ and ‘How far’ and ‘agree’ and ‘your

• Lack of rights for under 18s
• Stereotyping
• Idealistic/dynamic – yet labelled irresponsible/threatening
• Degree of parental control – excessive/liberal – equality with the family
• Level of access to resources/decision-making/respect/status in society
• Facilities for young people (e.g. employment/youth organisations/counselling)
• Degree of exploitation (child labour/low wages/coercion)
• Effect of poverty/class or caste system/social expectations/orphans – ‘street kids’

On-line playing of games can enhance language acquisition. Discuss.

• Addictive
• Replaces social activity with friends and family
• Expensive
• Some argue that it can induce poor behaviour
• Can be used for education
• Can develop thinking skills
• Can enhance problem solving ability
• Sharpen our reactions
• Develops a competitive spirit
• Can provide links to literature and film
• More active than watching TV
• Some online activities include working with others
• Can be bad for health – not leading an active lifestyle
• Can become divorced from reality
• May lead to crime if no money to buy equipment

Skyscrapers make powerful statements. What is your understanding of their significance?

• Tall buildings were found in past civilisations; pyramids in Egypt, medieval cathedrals and fortresses. The towers were a status symbol of the wealthy
• Competition to see who can build the tallest building
• The skyline can be an icon for the city
• Attracts tourists
• Are used when there is a shortage of building land
• A demonstration of the latest technology and architecture
• Symbolises the power and wealth of a state or country
• Often commercial buildings that may stand for financial success or vainglory
• The view! The penthouse
• Can be used to house many people in a small area
• Rooftops can be used as gardens and ways to save energy with solar power

‘Wars do not resolve questions but create further disputes.’ Does this mean that war can never be justified?

• There are likely to be references to more than one war

• Arguments for resolutions of various conflicts may be advanced

• What might be defined as a ‘just war’?

• World War Two, for example or the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Iraq wars, civil wars

• Examples of where negotiations and/or treaties have prevented conflict

• Distinctions may be drawn between ‘wars’ and terrorism

• The so-called ‘war on terror’ may be mentioned

• One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter

• Allow for thoughtful interpretations of the term ‘war’