Essay #4 – Sustainable Solution Proposal
In this essay, you will explore a specific sustainability issue of your choosing, either social or environmental (or related to both). This assignment is rooted in the maxim, “Think globally, act locally,” meaning, although many sustainability issues (declining biodiversity, global warming, ocean pollution, poverty, crime, etc.) are global, we can learn—and enact meaningful change—by exploring them within the context of a local system. Thus, you will be exploring issues in the general Los Angeles area, within an approximate 100-mile radius. You may also decide to focus on Woodbury University. Although this is a research paper with multiple sources you will cite in APA style, your voice, your perspective, and your persona must be evident in the essays. You may include your personal experiences in this essay if appropriate. This essay must be coming from you and your own passions and interests; sources are used to establish your authority and support your ideas.
The challenge of this paper—as well as its most exciting component—is to narrow down your topic to be 1) local and researchable, 2) neither too broad or too narrow, and of course, 3) intriguing to your audience, which includes me and your classmates. Therefore, you will not be writing a general paper about global warming, ocean pollution, or other broad issues, although you may certainly refer to the global problems to establish context and provide some background for your readers. These issues are too broad and impossible to cover in-depth in a college-level research paper. Another challenge is that you will have to learn about the issue you choose. Ideally you will be reading more material than you will use to give yourself adequate background knowledge.
For example, suppose you love the ocean and recently visited Santa Monica pier, and noticed that the waters appeared murky. Then you did some initial research, and discovered this article about how the pier is one of the most polluted beaches in Southern California. (See http://abc7.com/news/5-socal-beaches-placed-on-worst-beaches-list/2105002/) This would be your starting point. What is causing this pollution? What effects is it having on the environment, society, and the economy? What are the far-reaching effects of this problem? You would then need to explore specific solutions that can be implemented by local and state governments, businesses, community groups, and/or individuals. Note that the best solutions are multi-faceted and involve more than individual actions, ie. “everyone should pick up their trash.” Make sure that you write about how your proposed solution will be implemented. Consider also how existing solutions can be improved and promoted.
I will not accept any essays claiming that a specific sustainability issue is a hoax or exaggerated. If you feel this way, instead please choose an issue that you believe in and care about. There are plenty to choose from.
In order to earn a C or above, you must abide by the following criteria:
You must incorporate properly cited quotes and/or paraphrases from a minimum of 5 sources. Sources may be from our class readings/TED talks, the sustainability list, or RELIABLE sources you find through your own research. We will discuss reliable sources in class.
Pico Kenter stormdrain in Santa Monica, CA
Photo by Haan-Fawn Chau
Interview or Field Notes
One additional source must be an interview with an expert in the field; for example, the news article link above mentions Heal the Bay, an organization devoted to cleaning up coastal regions in Southern California (https://healthebay.org/). If this were your topic, you could interview someone involved in the organization. If you decide to become a volunteer yourself and document a direct experience at the pier, with photographs and extensive field notes, you could do this in lieu of an interview. Do not “dump” the interview in one section of the paper, and do not present it as one long quote. Make sure the relevant parts of your interview or field notes are synthesized smoothly throughout your essay.
You may wish to create sections for this essay with boldface subtitles per APA style. For example, you might consider having one section devoted to the problem, and another to your solution(s). Please, no more than three sections. Also, whether your essay has sections or not, it must read as an organized whole, with a consistent voice and style throughout. Essays that appear to be written by multiple parties, or by someone other than the student, will not be accepted.
2,800 to 3,400 word minimum, which is 10-12 double-spaced pages, with one of those pages a 1/2-page abstract (see below). Please note, papers below 2,800 words will be downgraded!
an APA format cover page AND an APA reference page (not included in the page count above)
proper APA in-text citations for all paraphrases and direct quotations
a 1/2 – page abstract (approximately 150 words), which is included in your word/page count above.
The important elements all your essays in this class must contain:
an introduction that has a hook and introduces your audience to the topic. Remember, your audience has not read Quinn; thus, you will need to introduce him and the gist of his idea.
a thesis that makes a specific, debatable claim; your thesis for this essay must be the last sentence in your one-paragraph introduction.
effectively organized paragraphs with strong topic sentences and transitions
smoothly synthesized evidence that supports your thesis and is convincing and clear to the reader
a conclusion that does not merely restate your thesis but that leaves the reader with further ‘food for thought’
A few more rules and tips
You may use block quotes, but no more than three, and each one can be no longer than 5 lines long.
You may wish to include a counterargument and rebuttal, but these are not a requirement.
Please see the tips and rules mentioned in your first two assignments.