You have learned about the biosphere and the principles of sustainability, and about climate change and the current state of our environmental crisis. You have heard arguments urging us to change how we think and how we act. You have read and listened to appeals to develop new understanding and new ways of thinking. Draw from the course materials, particularly Sustainability, to create your next argument.
Addressing an audience of your peers or co-workers (present or future), argue for one meaningful lifestyle change (in consumption or behavior).
Change is hard for humans.
By meaningful we mean that the change you call for will have a significant impact on the global environmental crisis.
Meaningful change will not be easy.
Focus your argument on an urgent human-created problem, situation, or condition related to how we live (for example, environmental toxicity, plastic pollution, fossil fuels, GHGs from industrial agriculture and food, commodity consumption, or social injustice).
Note: Do not argue for educational change, however. Education is an important topic for another paper, not this one. This assignment is related to an individual’s lifestyle or daily choices.
The change you call for must be viable and demonstrable, that is, it must be grounded in facts, data, or studies. It cannot be an abstract concept or “wishful thinking”; the change you argue for must be something that can and should happen now and that is supported by science and/or studies. The agents of this transformation are your targeted audience.
Feel free to discuss ideas with me first.
But first, read this short argument: “Yes, Your Individual Action Does Make a Difference” (Links to an external site.)
Then move on to the next page ———————->
Essay 3 Prompt
Situation: Many people fall into the fallacy that as individuals we cannot make much of an impact or difference, that our actions are not meaningful. This is, of course, illogical. The environmental crisis is the outcome of individual actions and behaviors writ large on the planet. Other thinkers, such as Foster, argue that we need to envision change at the level of our political and economic system rather than in terms of individuals. Why not approach the environmental crisis from both the micro and the macro levels?
What would Aldo Leopold say?
Essay 3 Prompt: What one, particular change should your audience make today to intervene in the global climate crisis in a significant way? Why is this necessary and meaningful? How should this be accomplished? How will this change support the principles of ecology and sustainability?
Guidance: You could use the questions to organize the essay, but you can also use them to think through your argument as a whole.
This prompt calls for a sustained, knowledgeable appeal for constructive and significant (not minor) change based on valid reasoning. It is directed at an audience of readers who are resistant to the claim for many valid reasons of their own.
Your argument, therefore, should present positive and constructive reasons for change (based on the principles of sustainability, for example), while simultaneously overcoming the valid objections and general resistance of the audience. Use your powers of persuasion to convince the reader to act, but avoid fallacious reasoning.
Length: 1200-1500 words
Format: Use MLA format for the layout of the essay, as well as citation and documentation. MLA format.
Sources: Use the materials we have read or viewed in this module. Draw examples and evidence from these sources. If you need current data about environmental issues, you should do additional research. An essay should always reflect the course materials.
- Argument related, detailed title
- Argumentative Thesis (claim and rationale)
- At least 4 body paragraphs with topic and conclusion sentences
- Evidence, examples, and reasoning drawn from course materials
- Strong final paragraph that draws the big conclusion from the body
- Careful editing
- MLA formatted Work Cited
Submit your complete draft as a Word doc.
Questions for Peer Review
1. Is there a meaningful title? if not, can you suggest one?
2. Is an argumentative thesis clearly articulated at the end of the introduction? Could the thesis be clearer or more specific? Does the thesis respond directly and precisely to the prompt? Can you distinguish claim from rationale? Give suggestions for revision.
3. How do the introductory sentences prepare you for the thesis? Is there anything unnecessary or unclear in the first paragraph?
4. Does each body paragraph have a single unifying idea? Are the topic sentences clearly supportive of the thesis? What about the conclusion sentences? Does each paragraph draw a meaningful conclusion in support of the thesis? Make suggestions.
5. Does the essay provide strong evidence and support for a particular kind of critical thinking or particular concepts? Assess the effectiveness of the evidence. Make suggestions.
6. Is the essay argumentative? Are objections anticipate and replied to? Make suggestions for enhancing argumentation.
6. Are there any errors in grammar, punctuation, or sentence structure? If so, mention these.
7. What do you like the most about this essay? Is it persuasive? What did you learn?