The death penalty, abortion and steroid use in sports might be hot topics, but that doesn't mean your persuasive speech has to scare up controversy among your audience. Everyday life contains plenty of topics that your classmates will find both interesting and debatable. From social media to work to entertainment, your next persuasive speech topic might be right under your nose.

Zoos: Conservation or Incarceration

Zoos are popular places to get an up-close look at exotic creatures, but many people think keeping the animals in captivity is unethical. If you're interested in animals, try giving a speech that persuades audiences of the positive or negative nature of zoos. For example, if you believe zoos are a good educational and environmental measure, you might talk about the Toledo Zoo, which tries to recreate the animals' natural habitats as closely as possible. If you believe zoos are inhumane, however, you can discuss how wild animals in captivity often struggle with behavioral issues.

Solving the Science Slump

It might seem like new cell phones, entertainment devices and computers are being released every day, but when it comes to science education, the U.S. is lagging behind. A 2009 National Association of Educational Progress assessment revealed that fewer than one-third of elementary and high-school students understand basic science concepts. Focus your speech on the need for a stronger emphasis on science in schools. For example, you might talk about the consequences of falling behind in science, such as an inability to provide solid science education to future generations and a lack of competitiveness in an increasingly technological world.

Sports Safety

Severe injuries can mean a painful life for football players after the roar of the crowd fades. Permanent brain damage from multiple concussions can not only mean shorter careers, but depression, memory loss and suicide. You can give a speech persuading audiences that football should not only be made safer, but that anyone who plays should take care to prevent concussions and not continue to play with injuries. Stories of players like Mike Webster, a retired player who eventually died from severe brain trauma, can provide powerful evidence of the consequences of not erring on the side of safety.

Social Network Profiling

Social networking plays such a central role in society that 37 percent of companies investigate job applicants' profiles as part of the hiring process, reports PR Newswire. While some people think it can provide valuable insight into a person's attitude and work ethic, others believe that it may lead employers to make unfair assumptions about applicants. You can write a speech that takes a stand on whether this practice should be permitted in workplaces. For example, you might support an argument against it by discussing how new policies like asking applicants for their Facebook passwords invade their privacy.