Climate change is complex, difficult to understand, depressing, fraught with justice challenges, and yet we need to act. The aim of this paper is to communicate an argument about what we can do about climate justice that will motivate people to respond. As an outcome of this assignment, we want to generate arguments that are compelling enough to submit as a newspaper editorial for the public to read.
Your assignment is to write an argument for how Oregon can be a global leader in one area of climate justice. You will explain a specific climate justice problem in Oregon (i.e. a specific climate hazard, specific climate impact and specific vulnerable community), and how Oregon can address the justice concerns associated with it (i.e. distributional, procedural and restorative justice; intersectional, international and intergenerational justice). You will describe the problem and propose a solution.
Organization and grading of the paper:
We are increasingly inundated with digital content, the world has become opinionated and polarized, and it is very difficult for arguments to rise to the surface. What are some ways we can be both factual, persuasive and action-oriented? Some tips:
Who are you speaking to? Imagine an audience. Write to that audience. Use language that is familiar to that audience. Use arguments that speak to that audience.
To connect a message to an audience, you need to personalize it. Instead of writing in dry, scientific language, develop your voice. Be compelling. Be creative, funny, descriptive, challenging. Use examples, use examples, figures of speech, irony, poetry, if necessary!
Use the right measure of seriousness and solutions. People are not motivated by fear, anxiety, doom and gloom (as you know). Provide a sense of the gravity of climate change, but also explain exactly people can do.
This outline may be helpful. Remember it’s only 800 words, so be efficient with your language! Quality not quantity. Quality really, really matters.
Paragraph 1: Summary
Tell us the problem, and the solution. Give us a sneak peak about what you are going to argue. Don’t leave us in suspense.
Define the problem. What are the most pressing justice concerns of climate change and its impacts to Oregon? Which communities are most vulnerable? What are the reasons? Why does it matter?
Explain the solution. What do you propose? Connect your solution to your climate justice problem.
Paragraph 2: Problem
Tell us your basic argument again, but this time in more detail. Provide more detail on the problem. Who is affected and why?
Explain the consequences for the justice concerns that should be most important.
Provide some evidence.
Paragraph 3: Solution
Provide details on how your solution attacks the problem you have identified.
Explain the implications of your solution: how it resolves not only climate justice problems, but also other long-standing problems.
Acknowledge the short-comings of your argument. You’ve listed the “pros”, but if we do what you’re suggesting, what are some of the “cons”?
Give us some alternative perspectives and solutions. Tell us some of the other ways we could address your climate justice problem, but also tell us what’s wrong with those approaches. Tell us why you’re not going to argue for the alternatives. “We could do X, but that won’t work because Y.”
Paragraph 4: Conclusion
Summarize what you’ve just told us, but with an emphasis on why it is the right path forward.
Personalize the message with examples, persuasion, irony, or personal experience.
End with a point that will stick with the reader.