This assignment addresses Course Outcomes 1-2:
- distinguish among the different types of pesticides and identify pesticide alternatives in order to make informed decisions about how pesticides impact public health and economics
- apply knowledge of fundamental ecological and biological principles to critically analyze the impact of pesticides on humans, wildlife, and ecosystems
Your assignment is to write a letter dealing with a pesticide issue. The letter may be in either a business or a personal format, and it may deal with a real or made-up situation. The issue needs to be serious (i.e., not comic), and you must show that you understand the concepts and facts about pesticides and the environment (don’t just focus on human health but consider wildlife impacts too) behind the situation. Show that understanding through a persuasive, fact-and reason-based letter, with strong research support demonstrated through discussion of serious references (e.g., not Wikipedia or popular blogs, and be careful about using biased advocacy blogs and websites too); please ask if you have questions about the validity of your sources.
To write a persuasive letter, it works best to identify a specific problem, such as Atrazine runoff in your local drinking water, and ask for a specific change, such as a new law reducing the amount of Atrazine allowed on crops during the spring rainy season. You will also need to identify an individual or organization or government office or official that could make steps toward the change you seek–such as writing to a state legislator or to a nonprofit such as Clean Water Action that might advocate for a new state law. Support your position with facts, explained in a respectful tone, and cite strong references to back up your viewpoint. An introductory paragraph and conclusion paragraph, with a few paragraphs of facts and referenced information, are usually adequate to get your points across clearly.
The letter should be 3 pages long, letter format, with an additional space between paragraphs, in 12-point type, and with 1-inch margins. Very short letters rarely succeed in including enough details to earn full points.
Although you would be unlikely to include references or sources in a letter like this, include for my purposes at least three references at the end of the letter. The references will not count toward the 3 page length requirement. References here and in all assignments must be in APA style. See the APA tutorial in the classroom if you need additional instructions on how to prepare your references.
Letter Layout and Plan
The topic I am covering for the letter on pesticide use is the use of glyphosate – an active ingredient in the herbicide weed killer Roundup. My letter will be addressed to my local county school board in an attempt to reiterate the effects of this chemical once mixed with other ingredients on the employees spraying this on school grounds and fields as well as the possible effects on our children who play and walk on these fields after the chemical glyphosate is sprayed on school grounds.
The letter will be addressed to:
Anne Arundel County School Board
2644 Riva Road Annapolis, MD 21401
structure the letter with a clear introduction (explicitly noting your request to stop glyphosate use), followed by evidence for the risks of the chemical especially to developing children and to the natural environment, then add evidence that alternatives are safer for and healthier for the environment, and then add a short conclusion summarizing your argument, Oh–and don’t forget your required references.
– Express the purpose of writing this letter – to address the use glyphosate in Roundup on school grounds, with the objective of banning its use on school grounds.
– Discuss the recent findings on the possibility of glyphosate being a cancer causing chemical and the cancerous effects of this chemical once mixed with other chemical ingredients in roundup.
– Reiterate the known finding of the effects of this chemical and active ingredient on humans as well as animals and the environment.
– Connect those risks above to users, and students
– Discuss the move by other school districts to find more natural alternatives to roundup on school grounds.
– Present possible alternative weed killers that other school districts are using, and a possible meeting with the board and parents to reach an urgent resolution.
The letter should address the key issues under consideration with clear arguments. The information provided is necessary and sufficient to discuss these issues.