20 Intriguing Persuasive Essay Topics About The Environment
The environment has been a hot button issue for over the last half century. As some new scientific evidence has pointed to human-caused pollution as being one of the primary reasons for environmental damage around the world, there are still a number of topics that have yet to be fully explored. Here are 20 intriguing topic ideas about the environment you can use for a persuasive essay:
- Do you believe that the deforestation and the environmental damage it causes is the worthwhile when compared to the economic benefits that come from it?
- Do you believe that hunting does more harm than good to the environment? What about over population of certain species?
- Should your school or community do more to encourage commuters to take alternative modes of transportation?
- Should supermarkets charge consumers extra for plastic bags as a means to encourage people to bring in their own reusable or recycled bags?
- What do you think people at your school can do to help people in poor regions of the world have enough clean drinking water?
- What are the dangers of tracking animals in the wild for sport, conservation, and scientific studies?
- Do you think first world countries around the globe are doing enough to reduce CO2 emissions?
- Do you think communities do enough about the dangers posed by nuclear power stations and their disposal of waste products?
- Do you think that if people were given vouchers from employers and state or local governments that they would switch to taking public transportation?
- Do you think company owners that have been found guilty of dumping toxic material improperly should face jail time?
- Do you think that city-wide recycling plans are making a great enough difference or are they merely costing tax-payers money?
- Why is it important not to throw hazardous household waste in the regular trash that goes straight to the dumpster?
- How do we change our carbon footprint? Is it too late or is the damage to earth’s environment still reversible?
- Do you think the United States should be doing more to end the reliance on non-renewable sources of energy such as gas?
- Do you think if littering had a bigger fine there would be less people breaking the law and more focused on cleaning up the community?
- Do you think that eco-tourism poses a threat to the protection of wildlife and wild areas? Will support for wildlife and wild areas suffer if people can’t visit?
- Why do you think people litter? Is it a bad habit that forms early in their life? Are they not motivated to clean up after themselves?
- Should more people become vegetarians or vegans in order to help the environment or is this idea not feasible?
- What will be the biggest environmental concerns of future generations? Will they face the same problem or will new threats arise?
- Do you think that car owners should pay more in taxes because of the environmental damage they through air pollution?
From Theory to Practice
Critical stance and development of a strong argument are key strategies when writing to convince someone to agree with your position. In this lesson, students explore environmental issues that are relevant to their own lives, self-select topics, and gather information to write persuasive essays. Students participate in peer conferences to aid in the revision process and evaluate their essays through self-assessment. Although this lesson focuses on the environment as a broad topic, many other topics can be easily substituted for reinforcement of persuasive writing.
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- Persuasion Map: Your students can use this online interactive tool to map out an argument for their persuasive essay.
- Persuasive Writing: This site offers information on the format of a persuasive essay, the writing and peer conferencing process, and a rubric for evaluating students' work.
- Role Play Activity sheet: Give your students the opportunity to see persuasion in action and to discuss the elements of a successful argument.
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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE
Buss, K., & Karnowski, L. (2002). Teaching persuasive texts. In Reading and writing nonfiction genres (pp. 7689). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
- The main purpose of persuasive texts is to present an argument or an opinion in an attempt to convince the reader to accept the writer's point of view.
- Reading and reacting to the opinions of others helps shape readers' beliefs about important issues, events, people, places, and things.
- This chapter highlights various techniques of persuasion through the use of minilessons. The language and format of several subgenres of persuasive writing are included as well.
Baker, E.A. (2000). Instructional approaches used to integrate literacy and technology. Reading Online, 4. Available: http://www.readingonline.org/articles/art_index.asp?HREF=/articles/baker/index.html
The inquiry approach gives students the opportunity to identify topics in which they are interested, research those topics, and present their findings. This approach is designed to be learner-centered as it encourages students to select their own research topics, rather than being told what to study.
Powell, R., Cantrell, S.C., & Adams, S. (2001). Saving Black Mountain: The promise of critical literacy in a multicultural democracy. The Reading Teacher, 54, 772781.
- The Saving Black Mountain project highlighted in this article exemplifies critical literacy in action. Students learn that, in a democratic society, their voices can make a difference.
- Critical literacy goes beyond providing authentic purposes and audiences for reading and writing, and considers the role of literacy in societal transformation. Students should be learning a great deal more than how to read and write. They should be learning about the power of literacy to make a difference.
Strangman, N. (2002/2003). Linking literacy, technology, and the environment: An interview with Joan Goble and René De Vries. Reading Online, 6. Available: http://www.readingonline.org/articles/art_index.asp?HREF=voices/goble_devries/index.html
- Endangered species and the environment are compelling topics for students of all ages and excellent raw materials for literacy learning.
- With only a minimal familiarity with the Internet and computers, students from kindergarten on up to high school can experience the double satisfaction of educating others about the environment and developing better literacy skills.
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