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I’m kinda the new kid on the ‘Ethos’ block—I moved in halfway through the school year, but it has been so much fun. I was asked to give my opinion on what I think my favorite/the strongest cases are out there this year and I have several, but not many (I have not seen every case that has ever been written thus far, though). My favorites this year are Thermal Depolymerization, Carbon Tax (of course), Sustainable Agriculture, Bottle Bill, as well as a very squirrelly little case about cows.

First off, I am not so completely in love with my own case, that it comes first in the list, which may seem odd, but the one case that I find rather intriguing and fairly defendable, however annoying for negatives it may be, is the thermal depolymerization affirmative that was just briefed in the latest Ethos update. There are some minor problems with the case, but I think it has lots of judge appeal and it pretty solid. The idea that you can turn huge, ugly, nasty landfills into a clean source of environmentally friendly energy is something that is most definitely attractive. I’m not entirely sure about the complexity of this case, but I would think it is not too intensely hard to understand for those who might still be looking for a case and want something simple.

My own case which, don’t get me wrong, is near and dear to my heart—carbon tax—takes second place. Honestly, despite the fact that, yes it is another tax, it really is beneficial for the environment, public health and safety, international diplomacy and the economy (you’re probably just bursting to disagree with me, but save it for the round J). It does reduce emissions, something which is fairly undisputed, and thus by reducing emissions it reduces their harmful and even devastating effects, improving health and safety, and it also shows the rest of the world that we aren’t going to default to the lowest standard of environmental quality, so to speak, but rather take the lead role in environmental protection. Finally the economic benefits manifest themselves in the cheap reusable resource of renewable energy, avoiding the economic consequences of not taking action at all, and the fact that it is a direct tax on one part of one sector and not a blanket tax at all. Of all the cases in this list this one is by far the. most. complicated. There are so many details, exceptions, rates, et cetera that need to be understood and defended that makes it complicated but also fun at the same time.

The sustainable agriculture case is quite a strong affirmative too. I have read some books and done some more recent research on it and the case does try to bring a solution to a problem that does deserve some attention. Also, the fact that there aren’t many disadvantages against the case makes it even more excellent. On a ‘complicated’ scale of 1-10 (one being most complicated, and ten being least complicated), I would say that this case is probably a 8 or 9—not too complicated, but you can’t just pick it up and run it, in my opinion.

Last but certainly not least is the bottle bill case, which basically is a case to provide incentives for recycling. This too is a fairly strong case, although I would not call it invincible by any means, but it certainly has strong and defendable evidence and refutation for apposing arguments and it not too complicated a case for debaters or judges to understand or vote for. J

The one squirrelly little case that I find really humorous is a case to butcher all cows in the United State, barbeque them, then send them abroad internationally for food aid. It claims advantages from the removal of cows who produce methane with is a m.a.j.o.r factor in climate change. If you want to read more about it look up this article from the William and Mary Law Review: 29 Wm. & Mary Envtl. L. & Pol’y Rev. 767. Would I have this as a primary case? No. But it is a little unusual, but not unfair, and it brings somewhat of a sense of strange humor/irony to the debate round.

Take all of that with a grain of salt; it’s just my personal opinion about cases this year. There are a lot of good cases and there are a lot of case that aren’t so great, but something that I have been told lots and lots of times, and am beginning to figure out, and let it ‘click’ is that its not the case that makes you win; a horrible debater with an unbelievably strong case is not going to do well and vice-versa. What matters is the effort you give, the attitude you decide to adopt, and ultimately the decision of the judge. There are lots of fun cases out there and plenty of bad ones—know the case you are running well, have a great attitude about it, your partner and debate, trust the Lord and you’ll have fun, learn lots, and do well.

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