A variety of assignments prepared over the course of the class allowed for a better understanding of important environmental issues and improved many of my skills. The preparation of an argumentative essay taught me to develop reasoning and defend my opinion.
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Researching the problem of air pollution enhanced my analytical and writing skills. However, the most impressive and memorable of all the tasks were the ones based on reading essays or watching videos covering various aspects of environmental issues. These materials have a rather strong appeal to emotion, which makes the process of learning not only informative but also world-centered with the help of authentic examples and impressive anecdotes.
Probably the most crucial theme raised in course readings is the issue of people’s detrimental activity and disrespectful treatment of nature. In this category, such literary pieces as Heat-Moon’s “A list of Nothing in Particular,” Dillard’s “Seeing,” Stegner’s “Wilderness Letter” stand out. Each of the authors emphasizes that the extent to which people’s destructive deeds have changed the Earth is too great to neglect.
Although all of the writers express their opinions in rather poetic language, their bitterness and fear for the planet can be felt through the lines. Stegner mentions that humanity has become so obsessed with conquering more and more lands and using them for resource mining that soon, “something important will have gone out of us as a people” (1). Stegner’s idea that people should be more sympathetic and compassionate resonates with me. Protecting unique places, animals, and plants is indeed highly significant for the successful development of the planet.
The call to see the beauty around oneself is another focus of class readings that influenced my attitude toward nature. Dillard’s and Heat-Moon’s stories played the most significant role in this respect. Having read Dillard’s argument “what you see is what you get” (1), I realized that I had not been paying enough attention to small but vital things around me. Heat-Moon’s piece further developed that understanding: in the ironic tone, the author explained how many exciting things existed in the world. The only problem is that people are frequently too busy to notice these things. Thus, these two readings helped me understand and see the beauty that exists everywhere around me.
While those readings were inspirational, some movies and videos that we watched during the course were quite alarming. Most of all, the film An Inconvenient Truth featuring Al Gore impressed me. The story told by Gore includes scholarly and statistical data that explain how much the planet’s climate has changed and how dangerous these changes are. Before watching this film, I had not realized that the level of risk was so high.
The movie stands out to me both because of the information presented and because of the speaker: I did not use to think of Gore as an environmentalist before. An Inconvenient Truth may be inconvenient indeed, but it necessary for everyone to watch it and come up with the ways they can mitigate the risks discussed.
The described class materials were the most valuable for my worldview, but I cannot say they were the only important ones. All of our assignments were insightful and encouraged a thorough analysis of various problems existing in the world. Moreover, readings and videos explained in detail that the major trigger of these problems is the human. Overall, the course expanded my outlook and taught me to take much better care of the environment.
Dillard, Annie. Seeing. 1974. Web.
Heat-Moon, William Least. “A list of Nothing in Particular.” CENGAGE Learning, n.d. Web.
An Inconvenient Truth. Directed by Davis Guggenheim, performance by Al Gore, Paramount Classics, 2006.
Stegner, Wallace. Wilderness Letter. 1960. Web.