This persuasive essay pertains to connections between humans and nature, in our Environmental Studies-themed English 102 class. Decide on a topic (not too broad or narrow) that would fit under the “connections between humans and nature” umbrella. Consider class discussions, readings that we have covered in City Creatures: Encounters with Animals in the Chicago Wilderness and other texts, and other sources of inspiration—as you choose a topic and develop your essay.
Your first draft will include 2-4 pages of writing.
Your first revision will include:
1. 3-5 pages of writing
2. 2-4 sources that you have integrated into your writing. Those sources should include at least one text-based source. Use both primary and secondary sources in your writing.
Your final revision will:
1. be 4-6 pages in length, and it will include a bibliography with at least three sources;
2. use at least three sources—text-based source, movie, website, etc.;
3. use at least three different rhetorical modes; and
4. demonstrate use of two or more different appeals (ethos, logos, pathos).
Your revision package will include the second revision and bibliography (with at least three
sources), with the formal outline on the bottom, all stapled together. The formal outline will mention where you have included 1) at least three different rhetorical modes; and 2) where you have used your sources in three different ways (quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing).
Ideas Regarding Topics:
animal intelligence: Alex & Me by Irene Pepperberg; The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman; Inky’s escape from New Zealand’s National Aquarium; Fu Manchu, escape artist orangutan at the Omaha Zoo
boundaries between humans and nature that shouldn’t be crossed : Timothy Treadwell, tourists at Yellowstone National Park who put a bison calf in their SUV, Sandra Herold and Travis the chimpanzee, Project Nim (dir. James Marsh)
biomimicry: Shinkansen design inspired by kingfisher’s beak, wind turbine blades inspired by whale fins, hotels inspired by cacti, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature by Janine Benyus
business and industries: wind farms; effects of mountaintop removal; connections between industries, political funding, and climate change denial (e.g. see Dark Money by Jane Mayer), Tesla Gigafactory
children and youth: Our Children’s Trust, In Defense of Food (dir. Michael Schwartz), Leave No Child Behind by Richard Louv, Where To Invade Next (dir. Michael Moore)
citizen scientists: Monarch Watch, Project Squirrel
climate change, global warming: Chasing Coral (dir. Jeff Orlowski), Chasing Ice (dir. Jeff Orlowski), An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (dir. Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk)
conservationists, activists: Julia Hill; Richard Torres, Peruvian man who married a tree
human- and nature-caused disasters: floods, wildfires, The Alewife Explosion (1967), Cuyahoga River Fire (1969), The Dust Bowl, Hurricane Katrina, Great Smog of London (1952)
engineering and design: bamboo bikes
endangered species, extinction, de-extinction: Revive & Restore, A Feathered River Across the Sky by Joel Greenberg, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
focus on a specific species
garbage and recycling: repurposed landfills, North Pacific Gyre, Plastic: The Real Sea Monster (dir. Max Mönch and Friedemann Hottenbacher)
gardens, arboretums: Ann Arbor Arboretum, Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Lurie Garden, Morton Arboretum
insects: “Cockroaches Are His Friends” by Andy Newman (New York Times), Burt’s Buzz (dir. Jody Shapiro), Vanishing of the Bees (dir. Maryam Henein and George Langworthy)
intersectionality: e.g. Brenda Cáceres’s work, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe / Dakota Access Pipe Line (DAPL) protests
music, sound and nature: construction of instruments such as balafons and koras, Gibson Guitar Corp. raided by the Justice Dept., Ice Music Festival in Norway, Voyager Golden Records, The Great Animal Orchestra by Bernie Krauss, Why Birds Sing by David Rothenberg
nature and homes: people who talk to their plants, Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) and lighting, natural and synthetic sounds at home, “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury)
nature and human emotions: The Nature Fix by Florence Williams
nature and technology: how nature has inspired robot designs (e.g. Robirds, Boston Dynamics’ Spot, Lockheed Martin’s Samurai UAV), Buttercup the duck’s 3D-printed webbed foot, Derby the dog’s 3D-printed legs
organizations: Audubon Society, Center for Humans and Nature, Chicago Wilderness, Environmental Defense Fund, iLoveMountains, Land Institute, Latino Outdoors, Nature Conservancy, Outdoor Afro, Sierra Club, Social Ecologies
parks / people’s relationships with parks: e.g. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, 1917 pageant in Indiana Dunes, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (dir. Ken Burns)
pets / people’s relationships with pets: people’s evolving relationships with pets over the decades and centuries, Cat Sense by John Bradshaw, service dogs, exotic pets
smuggling / contraband: The Ivory Game (dir. Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani)
space travel, exploration and habitation: terraforming exoplanets, The Martian by Andy Weir
urban ecology: rewilding in Detroit and other cities, Center for Humans and Nature, Chicago Wilderness, Food Not Lawns, The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
visual art and nature: environmental art, Sharon Bladholm, Robert Smithson, Rivers and Tides (dir. Thomas Riedelsheimer), Waste Land (dir. Lucy Walker)
water / marine life: invasive species (e.g. zebra mussels and Asian carp in Lake Michigan, lionfish in the Everglades), The Cove (dir. Louie Psihoyos), L’odyssée (dir. Jérôme Salle)
wildlife conservation: wildlife bridges, brownfields to green fields
work by great leaders: Edward Abbey, Rachel Carson, Jacques Cousteau, Charles Darwin, Jane Goodall, Jens Jensen, John Muir, Edith Widder Smith
Feel free to contact me by email or phone if you have any questions as you continue working on your essay. Good luck!