Argumentative essay | English homework help

Set-Up (premise): Consider the ways in which our ideas and thoughts about ourselves and the world have impacted its natural systems. Human thought–shaped and conditioned by our societies, cultures, belief systems, and so on– plays a major role in supporting the actions and behaviors, the economic systems and industries, that have led up to the global environmental crisis.   

Prompt:  How can we think “like a mountain” (critically, ecocentrically) in order to solve the environmental problems we face in 2020?

Note:  This is to be an original argument inspired and supported by the materials we have read so far.


Directions: Compose an argument in direct response to the prompt question and set-up.  Be sure to select and define your terms, concepts, or ecological principles with care.  Leopold’s argument was aimed a different time and reader than yours will be.  His metaphor and his examples may need updating or translation for your argument.  Or, you may find that his ideas are still applicable to our global issues, that the “mountain” is a metaphor for the environment.

Your purpose is to create an argument–that is, to engage a reader (that you must envision) who does not think like a mountain, or does not understand the importance of thinking critically and scientifically about the environment, or who may have other priorities.  

  •  Convince this reader to think critically, using Leopold as inspiration.
  • Lead your reader through a reasoning process that is both instructive and persuasive.
  • Defend your position against the readers many challenges and objections. Arguments must engage counterarguments or objections, and good arguments are designed around those objections.  Arguments are not one-sided declarations but conversations. You are not writing to the professor; you are engaging your own imagined reader who is resistant or opposed to what you want them to do for valid reasons of their own.
  • Use the structure of the academic essay you have learned about in this course.  This is essential!  The paper will be evaluated not only on its substance but its structure.

Length: 800-1200 words 

Format:  Use MLA format for the layout of the essay, as well as citation and documentation.  MLA format 

Sources: Use the materials we have read or viewed in this module.  Draw examples and evidence from these sources. If you want to use current data about current environmental issues–which is a good idea when updating an older point–you should do additional research to gather statistics and facts (ie, extinction, deforestation, rising temperatures, etc). An essay should always reflect the course materials but can demonstrate knowledge and credibility with new ideas and current information.


  • Argument related, detailed title
  • Hook
  • Argumentative Thesis (claim and rationale)
  • At least 4 body paragraphs with topic and conclusion sentences
  • Evidence, examples, and reasoning drawn from course materials
  • Strong final paragraph that draws the big conclusion from the body
  • Careful editing
  • MLA formatted Work Cited

Remember, you are arguing FOR positive change.  Do not fall into the trap of merely lamenting all of the problems.  Arguments aim to solve problems.  Arguments are constructive.

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