What environmental issue interests you most? Is it the impact of ecotourism on sea turtle populations? Or are you intrigued by how environmental activism arises in response to industrial pollution? Or does the feasibility of converting to all-renewable energy interest you the most? In this assignment, you will select a topic of interest to you, apply two perspectives on human-environment interactions to this issue, and then argue which of the two perspectives offers the best explanation of the problem.
Assignment objectives
The objectives of this assignment are twofold:
• To critically analyze a contemporary environmental issue in a particular geographical place or region
• To compare/contrast two approaches to studying human-environment interactions
How to choose a topic
In this assignment, you are allowed to choose your topic so that everyone has the opportunity to write about an issue that interests them. You may write about topics that we cover in class or you may choose to write about something else. If a class topic interests you but has not yet been covered, you may want to look ahead at the readings. Although there is room for flexibility, you should aim to be fairly specific about your topic. Instead of “climate change impacts,” you may want write about a particular impact in a particular place. For example, you may choose to write about impacts on agriculture in West Africa or the spread of vector-borne disease in the Southeast United States. If you need some ideas, visit the instructor in office hours and she will help you to determine an appropriate topic based on your interests.
What’s required
You will complete the term paper in a series of ‘deliverables,’ including:
(1) Paper summary (due October 10 or 11, 2013): Your summary should be a succinct and detailed description of the environmental issue you will analyze. Your summary should include:
a. A 4-6 sentence fact-based problem statement that clearly identifies the environmental issue you wish to research and outlines the significance of the issue in contemporary human-society interactions.
b. A discussion of the two approaches you will use to analyze your selected issue (what they are and how they explain your topic.
c. A preliminary bibliography that provides a minimum of three sources directly related to your topic, two of which must be peer-reviewed journal articles. These sources should be cited in the body of your problem statement.
i. Note: References such as blogs and newspaper articles could be used primarily to discuss what people are saying about an issue. Wikipedia may be a good place to find further references, but do NOT use or cite information from Wikipedia.
(2) (Optional) Rough Draft (due November 7 or 8, 2013): Completing a rough draft is entirely optional. Your rough draft should be a complete and fully formulated version of your term paper. In your rough draft, you should:
a. Provide a clear and concise introduction that includes an effective thesis statement that is underlined.
b. Identify the environmental issue you are analyzing;
c. Discuss the significance of the environmental issue you are analyzing;
d. Apply two of the approaches to studying human-environment interactions to explaining this problem;
e. Compare the explanations offered by these approaches, focusing on their respective strengths and weakness; and,
f. Offer an argument for why one approach provides the better explanation
g. Include a conclusion summarizing the major points of your paper
h. Provide a complete bibliography of your information sources at least three of which must be peer-reviewed journal articles.
If you submit a rough draft, you will receive detailed feedback from the instructor on the
content and presentation of your paper with ample time to incorporate this feedback into
your final paper. A supplemental outline with a suggested term paper outlines is posted to the contents section of D2L.
(3) Final Paper (due December 5 or 6, 2013): Like the optional rough draft, your final paper should fully meet all of the criteria discussed above. Your final paper should also satisfy all guidelines on presentation and format listed below.
Important notes
All term paper deliverables are to be submitted to the D2L dropbox before your discussion section on the due date. No late term paper deliverables will be accepted.
Each of your term paper deliverables will be automatically checked for plagiarism using once they are submitted to the dropboxes. Please remember that plagiarism is treated very seriously in this class. Any instance of directly quoted or paraphrased text in your writing that is not properly referenced is considered plagiarism.

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