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Mapping Wild Cards

Inspired by: FP7 » Trace pollutants cause ethnic air cleansing in Europe

version: 8 / updated: 2011-02-09
id: #1643 / version id: #262
mode: VIEW

Originally submitted by: Joe Ravetz
List of all contributors by versions (mouse over)
Last changed by: Rafael Popper
WI-WE status:

Source of inspiration

European Commission Framework Programme for RTD (FP7)

Theme/activity of inspiration

Theme 6 - Environment (including Climate Change)

Sub-theme/area of inspiration

Environment and health

Optional reference/s to FP7 project/s

Use the following format: Project Acronym (Project Reference No.). Use commas if more than one project is associated to this Wild Card, for example: ALFA-BIRD (213266), SAFAR (213374), LAPCAT-II (211485)
Bornik Z and H Dowlatabadi (2004). “The interplay of technological change and social norms: The case of B-Thalassaemia in Cyprus” Electronic Working Papers Series. W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics. University of British Columbia at www.ethics.ubc.ca.


(max. 9 words)

Trace pollutants cause ethnic air cleansing in Europe


(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Wild Card (approx. 150 words)
The hazard of trace pollutants in urban air are shown to be focused on certain ethnic minorities, e.g. Pakistani or certain EU groups, who are more susceptible to hereditary disorders such as B-thalassaemia. This rapidly leads to controversy on social norms on genetic disorders, and the disclosure of such information: ethnic tension and stress on kinship groups: and distrust of public policy and scientists. Indirectly it helps to amplify social unrest and risk of fundamentalist terrorism.


social norms, hereditary disorders, pollution, terrorism, racism, cohesion, ethnic


(max. 250 characters)

The hazard of trace pollutants in urban air lead to major health problems in certain ethnic minorities (e.g. Pakistani or certain EU groups) susceptible to hereditary disorders such as, for example, B-thalassaemia.


Closest timeframe for at least 50% likelihood
Please use one of the following options:

Features of life if the wild card manifests

Feature 1: business models and industrial environment
Pressure on industry to disclose trace pollutants.
Feature 2: education and research environment
Researchers are challenged to identify complex pollutant pathways.
Feature 3: consumers, markets and lifestyles
Consumers are worried that their purchases contain hidden toxics.
Feature 4: technology and infrastructure
Scrutiny on genetic technologies and access to information.
Feature 5: politics and global affairs
Rising ethnic tension.
Feature 6: health and quality of life
Impacts on health for victims, plus insecurity for social & kinship networks.
Feature 7: security and defence
Rising ethnic conflicts.

Type of event

Unplanned consequence of events/trends/situations (e.g. financial crisis, accidental breakthrough)

Type of emergence

please select (if any) describe related trend or situation
A new development/situation
(e.g. a Romani state is established in central Europe; A message from an alien civilisation existing on a distant planet is received and understood, etc.

Historical parallels

there are similar social issues raised by pandemics, e.g. winter flu

Type of systems affected

Human-built Systems - E.g. organisations, processes, technologies, etc.




please specify:
please select
Level 2: important for a particular world region india-pakistan
Level 3: important for the European Union
Level 4: important for the whole world

Early indicators

(including weak signals)

information on ethnic-affective hereditary disorders is openly discussed & challenged

Latent phase

Obstacles for early indentification

cultural/religious filters (values, traditions, faith, spiritual beliefs)
institutional filters (rules, laws, regulations)
social filters (class, status, education level)

Manifestation phase

Type of manifestation

Very uncertain

Aftermath phase

Important implications
Transformation of a system (e.g. new applications, change in stakeholders relations/influence)


this could help to transform the assimilation of certain ethnic groups and also the transparency of trace pollutant information

Key drivers or triggers

Provide up to 2 possible drivers or triggers of HIGH importance. Click on HELP to see examples:
please describe
Driver / Trigger 1
please describe
Driver / Trigger 2
Technological/Scientific genetic bioi-markers to enable identification of pathways
Values/Ethical/Cultural reaction in affected groups with debate on social norms

Potential impacts (risks & opportunities)

Timeframe options
Risks Opportunities
short term
(1 to 5 years after the Wild Card manifests)
affected groups see rapid spread of conditions
medium term
(5 to 10 years after the Wild Card manifests)
rethinking of social norms related to hereditary disorders

Potential stakeholders' actions

it occurs
it occurs
Policy actors (at the international, European and national levels) strengthen regulation on trace pollutants
Academic/Research sector further research on interaction of social norms & bio-technology

Relevance for Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Ageing and other demographic tensions
Coexistence and conflicts
Diseases, health and well-being
Ethics and abuse of S&T
Food security and diet
Social pathologies & ethics
Techno-security, hazard & risk

Relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology
Nanosciences, nanotech, materials & new prod. tech.
Social Sciences and Humanities
Science in society

Pan-European strategies potentially helping to deal with the wild card

please justify:
particularly relevant
Developing and funding world-class research infrastructures
Facilitating and promoting knowledge sharing and transfer

 Features of a research-friendly ecology contributing to deal with the wild card

For further information about 'research-friendly strategies' click here

please justify:
particularly relevant
Strengthening the actors in the research-friendly ecology
(i.e. Research funding organisations, universities, businesses, Research and Technology Organisations, Researchers and Citizens)

Relevance for future R&D and STI policies

Note: RTD = research and technology development; STI = science, technology and innovation
Future policies should focus on trans-disciplinary interactions between bio-technology / health, and socio-cultural norms & values.