The development of sustainable, renewable energy resources is an enormous challenge for our world today. At the same time, such development can have a negative impact on ecologically sensitive areas and/or on local residents. This assignment asks students to attempt to reconcile these two conflicting needs, while soliciting their literacy and critical thinking skills.
In the mid-2000s, the government of Quebec held public hearings that allowed concerned groups and individuals to present briefs at a series of hearings related to the planned boundaries of a new provincial park in Northern Quebec. An important river in the region, the Nastapoka, had been left outside of the park to allow Hydro Quebec to eventually build a hydroelectric dam on the river. Following a public outcry to protect the river, hearings were scheduled to explore the idea of expanding the park's boundaries to include the Nastapoka within the protective confines of the park. This assignment simulates the public hearings.
Students are required to analyze a series of fictional briefs from Hydro Quebec, from various interest groups (environmental activists, adventure outfitters association) and from a variety of individuals (local mayors, Inuit and Cree citizens of the region).
The briefs juxtapose the need for renewable energy resources to meet the needs of the population with various other environmental, social and economic needs. Following their analysis, students are then asked to submit their recommendation to the provincial government.