You are the leader of an isolated, utopian community with 5000 residents, a place that you and a small group of hard working people created 20 years ago out of a wilderness because you were dissatisfied with your lives in the modern, industrialized 21st century society. The values underpinning your utopia are self-reliance, religious tolerance, and peaceful co-existence.
You have been the leader for a long time, managing the community in the early days and dealing with a serious immigration issue. Now, to your great astonishment, a visiting scientist named Dr. Jonathan Lichenbaumer announces that he has made an amazing discovery right in the middle of your community’s main square: a very rare species of earthworm, long thought to be extinct, whose excrement, once refined, can be used as a fuel for combustion engines that have undergone slight modifications. This fuel produces a tiny amount of waste and no greenhouse gases. Experts who have learned of Dr. Lichenbaumer’s announcement are already claiming that the earthworm excrement can be properly refined for modified combustion engines in as little as eighteen months, and they expect it may be widely sold to consumers for as little as $1.25 per gallon.
This new earthworm excrement has the potential to change transportation, agriculture, warfare, business, and other human activities in societies all over the globe. In particular, it has the potential to change your community because immediately following the discovery, several large international fuel companies have sent their representatives to your office to negotiate terms for purchasing or renting your town square in order to extract the earthworms. This process will require the presence of numerous pieces of large heavy equipment, and it will be lengthy, noisy, dirty, and promises to disrupt the very center of your community. In addition, since earthworms are capable of reproduction, once a sufficient number of them have been extracted from your town square, they may be taken elsewhere for breeding, and your community’s value will drop significantly.
Your job as the leader of your community is to lay out the detailed terms of a contract that you will be willing to sign with one or more of the international fuel companies. Consider what you want to require in terms of financial or any other kind of payment to the community, control over access to the town square, ownership of the worms themselves, future marketing/branding rights, etc.
Consider also that these worms were thought to be extinct, but they have turned up unexpectedly. Who’s to say they won’t be found in another location now that people know what to look for? If your terms are so unfavorable to the fuel company or companies, they may simply go elsewhere to search for worms. You need to negotiate a contract that will make your people money, help the earth, and protect your community. Do your best.
Write a minimum of 250 words detailing the terms of a contract that you as the leader will sign on behalf of your community. Be sure to put your name on it.
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