Sources & Destinations Essay


This assignment asks you to produce a research-based essay on something you use/consume routinely in your daily life.

This can be a food item, a type of fuel, or something more durable, such as an article of clothing or an electronic

device. The possibilities are limitless. Your job is to account as thoroughly as possible for this item’s contribution

to your overall ecological footprint. To do this, you will need to research information such as where it comes from, how

and by whom it is made, the origins of its raw material inputs, packaging,and how (and how far) it travels to reach you.

You will also want to account for what happens to this item when you finish with it.

Your essay should relate explicitly to principles and practices of sustainability as explored in this course. Essays

must consider both the item’s physical impact on the earth andthe positive and/or negative impacts the item has on human

communities involved in and affected by its production, transport, and/or disposal. You must choose toemphasize either

the physical or the social, rather than both. You are expected to also convey an awareness of the other’s impacts (i.e.,

if you focus on the physical, you must convey an awareness of the social, and vice-versa). All essays should also

explore and address more sustainable alternatives to the item under consideration.

Your audience for this essay is an intelligent general readership. The essay should be between 2000 and 3000 words long

(that’s 7 to 10 pages of double-spaced text if you’re using standard one inch margins and 12 point font). In addition,

your essay must include a bibliography (using MLA or APA format) of all sources cited with information drawn from each of

the following source categories (the guidelines below are a minimum):
• 2 scholarly sources from books and/or peer-reviewed journals
• 3 high quality and reliable websites —Wikipedia will NOT be accepted as a credible source
• 3 other high quality and reliable sources of your choice

Learning Objectives

• To develop research skills within the field of sustainability studies and use these skillsto heighten your

awareness of your own ecological footprint.
• To use written communication skills to inform others about ways consumption practices in the developed world can

affect the earth and other humans.
• To think critically about the environmental and social implications of your own and others’ habits.

The Sequence

The structure of the assignment helps to support your development of ideas for this project over the duration of the

course. Here’s the sequence:

Ecological Footprint Reading and Quiz—Discussin class on 5/21.

Topic Exploration (posted to Blackboard by before class on 5/28)—Preliminary list of sources (at least six per topic) and

reflection on two possible topics. Two double-spaced pages, 20 points possible.

Outline and Annotated Bibliography (posted to Blackboard by 11:00 p.m. on6/4)— 80 points possible.

• Outline (2 pages) –
o This should include main sections of your essay as well as sub-topics you will address under each section. It

should provide a clear roadmap of the paper you will submit.
• Annotated Bibliography –
o This portion of the assignment will supply the sources used in developing and defining your topic and paper.

Your annotated bibliography should convincingly demonstrate that your paper will be based on sound, high-quality, and

thorough research. Additionally, it must include, at minimum, the number and type of sources as detailed above on page

1. Please label each source by type (ie, scholarly, high quality web site, other)
o An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents formatted properly using MLA

or APA format. Each citation is followed by a brief, 1- to 2-paragraph description of the source’s argument, relevance,

accuracy, and quality, which is the annotation. For more guidance on annotations, please see the following website:

Full Essay (posted to Blackboard by 5 p.m. on 6/14)—Your grade will be based on the criteria below. 2000 words minimum,

100points possible.

Evaluation Criteria

1. Does the author know enough about the concepts and issues he/she is addressing to write about them with

authority? Has he/she researched the topic with sufficient thoroughness? Has he/she done the right kinds of research?

2. Has the author framed the topic effectively? Does he/she deal with the topic in sufficient depth? Does the

essay address both physical and social impacts of the item under consideration? Does the essay explore/address more

sustainable alternatives to the item under consideration?

3. Does the essay employ an effective rhetorical strategy? Does the opening hook the reader? Does the body of the

essay continue to engage the reader? Does the essay end effectively?

4. Is the essay well organized?

5. Is the essay between 2000 and 3000 words long?

6. Has the author paid attention to writing technique? Is the language fresh, vivid, and detailed? Is the piece

well-written, with few (if any) distracting errors of mechanics, grammar, syntax, spelling, etc.?

7. Has the author used sources correctly by providing in-text parenthetical references to sources for all

quotations, paraphrases, and data used in the essay along with a bibliography in a standard documentation format (APA or

MLA) of all sources used for the piece?
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