Thank you for attending Great Decisions 2020.  This event has passed, but material from each session is still available below.

 

 

 

2020_Programs-Adult - Feb27_GreatDecisions_JoyceFrancis_graphic.jpgGreat Decisions, produced by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA), is America’s largest civic discussion program on world affairs. The Great Decisions Extension that is not associated with the FPA.  The program series is co-sponsored by Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship’s Adult Learning Program.

 

Great Decisions Extension Class Sessions

May 14 – How We Saved the World:  An Optimist’s Guide to Life on Earth in 2070
For our next two sessions, we’ll be using National Geographic special April issue for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  This is a first-ever “flip” issue — essentially two magazines in one – to revisit environmental milestones of the past half century and to look ahead to the world our descendants will inhabit in 2070.
This week, we will review Emma Marris’ vision that technologies will be harnessed to “feed a larger population, provide energy for all, begin to reverse climate change and prevent most extinctions.”  Follow the link below to the library’s free access to the issue in an impressive format, review the first half (to page 89), and come ready to talk about the section that most captures your imagination.  We will be able to view those sections of the issue together as we discuss.

To access the April issue of National Geographic please follow the link to Flipster. From this link under Patron ID put in your 14 digit library card number that can be found on the back of your library card and click on “Sign In”.  In the search bar at the top of the page, type “National Geographic”. The first result on the list will show National Geographic. Click on that link and it will show you the latest National Geographic issue.  On the upper right-hand side of the page click “All Issues”.  Under more issues there is an issue titled “2020” with a picture of earth on it.  Click on that issue then click on “View” to access.  If you have trouble accessing this, please give the library a call M-F from 10-5 at (360) 385-6544 and we can assist you.

May 21 – How We Lost the Planet:  A Pessimists Guide to Life on Earth in 2070
This week, we will follow Elizabeth Kolbert, who sees a world of longer droughts, deadlier heat waves, fiercer storms, and more.  Hers is a doomsday vision.  She sees no evidence that we will address those and other threats fast enough to keep them from overwhelming us and the natural world. Now viewing the second half of the National Geographic issue, and again come ready to talk about the section that most depresses you.

To access the April issue of National Geographic please follow the link to Flipster. From this link under Patron ID put in your 14 digit library card number that can be found on the back of your library card and click on “Sign In”.  In the search bar at the top of the page, type “National Geographic”. The first result on the list will show National Geographic. Click on that link and it will show you the latest National Geographic issue.  On the upper right-hand side of the page click “All Issues”.  Under more issues there is an issue titled “2020” with a picture of earth on it.  Click on that issue then click on “View” to access.  If you have trouble accessing this, please give the library a call M-F from 10-5 at (360) 385-6544 and we can assist you.

May 28 – The Environment – Thinking Globally & Acting Locally

Staying with the environmental theme, together we’ll stream two TED Talks of environmental success stories in Bhutan and Costa Rica.  The Bhutan story is a feel-good antidote to the pessimism of last week, which we’ll probably need.  
While Thinking Globally, you might want to review this you may enjoy reviewing the global report, Climate Change Performance Index 2020, which evaluates the performance of 57 countries plus the European Union. Sadly, the U.S. sunk to the bottom of these rankings.
Costa Rica is closer to home geographically, but it also is similar to Jefferson County in that it has achieved fully-renewable electricity but now needs to consider how to rid itself of fossil fuels.  This will help us consider what efforts we need to encourage locally.  Jefferson County just released its 2020 Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

Climate Change Performance Index 2020

Jefferson County 2020 Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Previous Great Decisions Class Sessions

Course Handout

February 27 – Climate Change and the Global Order
Climate change has become one of the defining issues of our time. As much of the world bands together to come up with a plan, the U.S. remains the notable holdout. What is the rest of the world doing to combat climate change? What impact will the effects of climate change have on global geopolitics?

Lecture Handout

Climate Change and the Global Order Video

March 5 – India and Pakistan
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi rode a wave of Hindu nationalism to a historic reelection in 2019. His first order of business was to revoke the special status granted to the Kashmir region, inflaming the rivalry between India and Pakistan. How will the Kashmir situation affect the region, both economically and politically?

Lecture Handout

India and Pakistan Video

April 2 – U.S. Relations with the Northern Triangle
Combatting illegal immigration has become a priority of the Trump administration. The Northern Triangle of Central America, made up of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, is a special target of the administration, which hold the nations responsible for the large flow of migrants from Latin America to the U.S. With funds from the U.S. cut, how can the Northern Triangle countries curtail migration?

Lecture Handout

U.S. Relations with the Northern Triangle Video

April 9 – China’s Road into Latin America
As the Trump administration continues to withdraw from the world stage, China is looking to fill the void. How does Latin America fit into China’s “One Belt, One Road” plan? How will the relationship with China affect the region? Should the U.S. be concerned about China’s growing “sphere of influence?”

Discussion Handout

The New China Scare by Fareed Zakaria

China’s Road into Latin America Video

April 16 – The Philippines and the U.S. 
The Philippines has had a special relationship with the United States since the islands were ceded by Spain to the United States after the Spanish-American War at the end of the 19th century.  However, since the election of Rodrigo Duterte, the country has pivoted more toward China, and away from the U.S. Duterte has also launched a large-scale war on drugs that many criticize for its brutality. What does the future hold for U.S, relations with the Philippines?

Discussion Handout

Philippines Data

The Philippines and the U.S. Video

April 23 – Artificial Intelligence and Data
Policymakers in many countries are developing plans and funding research in artificial intelligence (AI). Global growth is slowing, and not surprisingly, many policymakers hope that AI will provide a magic solution. The EU, Brazil, and other Western countries have adopted regulations that grant users greater control over their data and require that firms using AI be transparent about how they use it. Will the U.S. follow suit?

Discussion Handout

Artificial Intelligence and Data Video

April 30 – Red Sea Security
The Red Sea has remained vital for global trade since the time of ancient Egypt. Once home to the spice trade, the Red Sea now sees millions of barrels of oil a day transported across its waters. With major nations like China, France, Italy, and the U.S. building large ports and bases in the region, what does the future of the region look like? How important is Red Sea security for global security? Can the region be a place of global cooperation?

Discussion Handout

Ode to the Library

Red Sea Security Video

May 7 – Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking
Almost every nation has enacted laws criminalizing human trafficking, and international organizations, governments, and NGOs sponsor a large variety of projects to curb trafficking and slavery. Billions of dollars have been allocated to these efforts. What is the international community doing to combat slavery and trafficking? What are the experiences like for those being trafficked?

Discussion Handout

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Video