ENG 101: Article Assignment



Description: Nature writers and environmental advocates are both master rhetoricians and pioneers of multimodal composition because they have to observe all available means of persuasion to communicate complex concepts, arresting imagery, and formidable data to nonspecialist audiences. The rhetorical choices authors make in pubic documents inspires readers to change earth-threatening practices and/or care for the health and well being of the world and creatures around them.

Goal: Change an audience’s expectations about an environmental topic of your choice. To accomplish this goal, write a 1,000-1,200 word argument in a style similar to that of David Gessner’s “For the Birds” or Michael Pollan’s “Some of My Best Friends are Germs.” Topics on which to base your arguments may include but are not limited to species depletion; dwindling water supply; (air, water, land) pollution; climate change; industrial animal production; rapid urbanization; habitat destruction; genetically modified crops; or fossil fuel dependence.

Consider the following as you write:

  • What are some common misconceptions about your topic, and how does your article help challenge those expectations?
  • How has the topic/problem you are arguing about been addressed in the past? How have past attempt to redress the issue failed? How will your suggestions succeed where others did not?

Sources: For full credit please include at least 5 sources to support and develop your claim.

  • At least 2 of the total sources must analyzed in-text citations from the in-class readings, i.e., “The Trouble with Wilderness,” “Economy,” “Slow Violence,” “For the Birds,” “Sick of Nature,” “Powers of the Hoard,” or “Some of My Best Friends are Germs.”
  • Draw other supporting evidence from any source you deem “credible.”
  • Link out to all sources from your article & site sources not included on class site “course texts” page in EverNote.

Format: Publish to a designated, static page on your site. For full credit users must be able to navigate to the page in one click, the article must contain at least 2 working links, and at least 1visual image.

Assessment Criteria:

  1. Does the article clearly articulate an environmental topic and develop a compelling argument based on the topic?
  2. Does the article use textual evidence to define terms, contextualize, and provide evidence in support of the claim? Does the paper define key terms and employ them consistently?
  3. Does the first paragraph introduce the topic/claim of the article? Does the rest of the article develop the topic/claim? Does the paper make use of strong topic sentences and transitions? Does your conclusion raise new ideas?
  4. Are the tone and the style consistent through out? Are tone and style appropriate to the audience and subject matter?
  5. Does the structure of the argument contribute to ease of reading? Are the paragraphs organized around focused or complete topics?
  6. Does the layout of the text in relation to images on the web page contribute to ease of reading?
  7. Does the essay make use of appropriate word choice and syntax? (i.e., action verbs over “to be,” active voice over passive, parallel sentence structure, etc.).
  8. Is the paper acceptably free of mechanical errors?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *