Many people fall into the fallacy that as individuals we cannot make much of an impact or difference,
that our own actions or “lived values” are not significant. This could be viewed as illogical since the
environmental crisis is, in a sense, the outcome of individual actions and behaviors writ large on the
Leopold argues implicitly that individuals must be the drivers of change, since institutions and
governments do not “feel” and thus cannot respect our natural world.
In contrast, Foster argues that we do need to envision change at the level of our political and
economic system rather than in terms of individuals, and that the environmental revolution will be a
social one based on justice and human rights.
While there is global scientific consensus that humans must act now to intervene in the rapid
deterioration of our biosphere, there is much debate over the question, what exactly should we do?
where to start? Action must be motivated by a clear sense of what is right and meaningful;
otherwise, humans tend to wring their hands and do nothing at all.
How should your generation intervene in the global climate crisis in a significant way? In
other words, what is the most meaningful step toward sustainability that people your age
should take now and why is it the most meaningful?
Do not take on a list of steps or a broad idea. This is not a set of directions but an appeal to an
audience who is wringing its hands, so to speak.
Narrow your focus to THE MOST SIGNIFICANT STEP to take and defend that very concrete step
against objections from the reader who might wish to take a different approach. Remember: An
argument is a defense of one position–yours–among many possible positions.
This prompt calls for a sustained, knowledgeable appeal for meaningful 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.
HINT: the principles of sustainability, along with ecological principles and concepts, provide you with
the tools you need to defend your position and reason with your audience. Use them wisely.
Length: 1200-1500 words
Format: Use MLA format for the layout of the essay, as well as citation and documentation. MLA
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. However, this is not a research paper; your essay should 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
MLA formatted Work Cited
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