Read and Response assignment due on Friday, March 4th
This is the first of two read and response assignments for the semester. These assignments provide an opportunity to directly engage arguments that are critical of practices that are associated with sustainability or critical of the concept of sustainability itself.
Read each of the four articles listed below. Choose one article and write a response on the blog. Your response should be between 400 and 1000 words. In your response it is recommended to focus on one aspect of one article, rather than try to write a point by point response to the entire piece.
Here are some possible approaches:
- Give a response that highlights a weakness of the argument in the article. What do you disagree with and why? What evidence not presented might make a difference in your assessment, if any?
- Give a response that highlights a strength of the argument in the article. What do you agree with and why do you find it convincing? What evidence not presented might make a difference in your assessment, if any?
- Follow up on thoroughly on a quantitative argument. Is the quantitative information correct? Does the conclusion logically follow or is the argument misleading? Is there something missing?
In preparing your response you should dig into the sources cited and verify some of the quantities used. You may need to do a calculation – and if so present this in your response. You can also comment on the credibility of sources.
Let me emphasize two points:
- I am not asking you to follow-up on every piece of evidence in the article – focus on a part of the article, and
- I am not asking you to comb through an article looking for a mathematical error.
The list of articles:
- The Truth about Coal and Mercury, Alex Epstein, Forbes, Nov 24, 2015
- The Reign of Recycling, John Tierney, New York Times, Oct 3, 2015
- Why Africa Needs Fossil Fuels, Bjørn Lomborg, Project Syndicate, Jan 22, 2016
- Slow Steaming and the Supposed Limits to Growth, Paul Krugman, New York Times, Oct 7, 2014.
Your grade will be based on the following criteria:
- Your response demonstrates that you understand the main arguments of the article
- Your response is directly relevant to arguments in the article
- Your response is well-organized.
- Correct use of grammar and wording.
- Citation and attribution of sources – (be sure to cite any of the article’s sources that you use or investigate)
- Use of hyperlinks