Posted: June 12th, 2022
Environment and Society
Writing Assignment #2
Global Warming Futures
Answer one of the questions below after reading the sections I assigned in Mark Hertsgaard’s
Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth. Support your argument with additional
evidence from course materials such as readings and lectures. Make sure you use at least two
quotes from Hertsgaard and two quotes from other sources such as…
National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society, Climate Change Evidence and Causes:
An Overview from the National Academy of Sciences and The Royal Society (2014)
• Available on line. Just google the title.
Kevin Anderson, “Climate Change Going Beyond Dangerous: Brutal Numbers and Tenuous
Hope,” Development Dialogue (September 2012).
• Available online. Just google the title.
PBS Frontline, “Climate of Doubt,” (2012)
• Available online. Just google the title and Frontline.
TED. “James Hansen: Why I must speak out about climate change.” YouTube video, 17:51.
March 7, 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWInyaMWBY8.
• Go to YouTube and search for the video by title.
Choose One Topic:
1). The year is 2114. Sustainable economies are flourishing in North America, Europe, and what
was the developing world. You are an environmental geographer trying to understand what
changed in the 21st century to bring global society to the hopeful place it has become. During
your investigations, you come across evidence that policymakers in 2014 read Hot as well as
other environmental texts and took the key lessons of these books to heart. What were the
insights that people learned from those books? How, specifically, did they implement those
lessons? What were the most significant environmental, political, and cultural changes that came
about in the 21st century that brought global society to the hopeful place it is in 2109?
2). The year is 2114. Things aren’t looking good for the environment. Most people aren’t doing
all that well either. Global warming has decimated 40% of the earth’s species. Famine, fire, and
drought have made the tropics and sub-tropics uninhabitable. All the world’s mountain glaciers
have melted, the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets are collapsing, and sea level is rapidly
rising, threatening coastal cities around the world. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Category-5
hurricanes and ferocious typhoons regularly batter the U.S Gulf Coast, the eastern seaboard, and
You are an environmental geographer trying to understand what went wrong. Despite warnings
from Mark Hertsgaard, Al Gore, and the world’s leading scientists, these people were unable to
influence either policymakers or the public to make lasting change. Why not? What went wrong
and why? What signs of trouble were ignored in the 21st century? How did environmental,
political and cultural factors work together to block the significant changes necessary for
Your paper should be…
• 5-pages long, typed, double-spaced, 1” margins, 12-point font.
• Cite books, articles, and videos using the Chicago Manual of Style format explained in
the last assignment sheet. If you no longer have this sheet, you may find it under
‘Assignments’ on the course Blackboard page.
• Make clear in the title of your paper which question you are answering.
• Please number your pages and staple them together, and include your name, section day
and time, and teaching assistant (Kristin Cutler or Mitul Baruah). Do not use a cover
• Write your essay in the past tense. You’re pretending you live in 2114 and writing about
events and movements during the previous century.
Make sure to keep a backup copy of your paper saved on your computer, the cloud, CD, flash
drive, etc.! On very rare occasions, we do lose papers in the course of grading them and toting
them to and from our offices and home. You must keep a backup of your paper.
We will be happy to help you with your essay. Professor Wilson and your teaching assistants
will have office hours the week before the paper is due (we may have longer office hours, too).
You can come to any of us and discuss your papers or read outlines. Unfortunately, we cannot
read drafts. There’s simply too many or you for us to read and comment on what you write. But
meeting with us is a very good idea, especially if you did poorly on the first essay.
** Due Date Friday, April 4th **
Beginning of Discussion Section
Late papers will be deducted 1/3 letter grade for each day late.
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