Nuclear Energy and Active Citizenship: Reporting your findings

Imagine that you are either a scientist working for ANSTO, or a campaign worker for Greenpeace. Your organisation needs an update on the whole Lucas Heights issue, to consider what has been done so far and how to handle any future debates about the use of nuclear technology in Australia. Prepare a brief report to present at a meeting. It should contain a list of your organisation’s actions and the way you would rate them. (Look back to the previous activity. You may need to rate some more of them quickly, if they haven’t been done, or to look at how others rated the same things. Perhaps there are differences of opinion that need to be considered.) Finish with any changes you would recommend for actions in future debates. Try to include some hard evidence, such as electoral results. Present your report to the meeting (the rest of the class).

Now let’s look at how collecting information, communicating and working with others has either changed the way you think about this issue, or left you unmoved.

With a partner, review the databases, think board and ratings ladders. Use De Bono’s thinking hats to discuss replacing the Lucas Heights reactor.

In particular, think about these four questions:

  • What was your first response to the issue?
  • What is your response now?
  • Why do you think it has or has not changed?
  • Did researching the work of active citizens change the way you think?

Produce an opinion piece explaining your position. It could be a newspaper column, a song or rap, a video interview or a PowerPoint presentation. It needs to be short but effective, briefly stating what you think and why you think that way. (Including evidence will make it more effective, but too much may bore your audience, so choose wisely!)

Taking action

The debate about the use of nuclear technology in Australia is not over yet. Try out your opinion piece on others, and see if you can win someone over to your point of view. Then consider two points currently causing ongoing discussion and argument in this area - the disposal of nuclear waste and the use of renewable energy such as solar or wind power.

For more information, watch one of the short segments of 4 Corners.

Choose one of these points and fill out one of the Futures charts provided (Figure 7) with information on what might happen when you are an adult. When you put in something that you are concerned about, mark it with a number or symbol. List these numbers/symbols on another piece of paper. Then add actions that you feel might change that future, to make it more to your liking (finding information, communicating and working together). The list is then the beginning of a plan that you could use as an active citizen. You might even be able to take some of these actions before you are able to vote!