Plan Your Op-ed (Nina Mewborne)

Nina’s Blog

Recently, I have been hearing a lot of environmental benefits from people quarantining and social distancing all over the world due to the COVID-19 virus. Some of these benefits include murky water becoming clear, less air pollution, marine creatures coming closer to the shore, turtles laying more eggs, and even in my town I can see more webworms falling from the trees. This is something that hasn’t been directly proven to be related to human actions, but it’s curious that they have almost disappeared in the last years, and are now much more noticeable than in the past.

I found an article titled “How the coronavirus crisis is helping improve the environment across the world,” written by Rashida Yosufzai. This article demonstrates the improvement of air quality around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The graphic that I included demonstrates the nitrogen dioxide levels in Wuhan, China in 2019 and 2020 during the Chinese New Year. It shows the increase of emissions during the Chinese New Year in 2019, but very low levels in 2020 due to people staying at home and not emitting any Nitrogen Dioxide.

The article continues to explain the benefits of people’s social distancing and quarantining. It explains that fewer people will die from COVID-19 than would die from air pollution in a normal year. The article does not support the spread of the virus, but the author wants to make it clear that humans are causing environmental harm and COVID-19 is providing even more evidence of this. 

Hopefully, this pandemic will bring more regulation and awareness of humans’ impact on the environment. There continues to be growing evidence of the environment improving with more and more people staying at home due to COVID-19. If more regulations soon were to be in place, now would be the time to implement them before businesses and people return to their daily life.

Nina Mewborne’s Op-ed post

This article, written by Jim Robbins, titled “A Natural Classroom, Run by Wolves” explores the outcome of reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone. This op-ed is focused around the impacts regular civilians can see with their own eyes, instead of what scientists would study.

The reader can tell this is an op-ed because there are no statistics or facts to back up what is said but focuses on the personal story around it. It is written informally and the author has a clear opinion on the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone. About halfway through the article, Robbins includes a quote from Dr. Smith, he states that “I can drive out to watch wolves with a cup of coffee in my hand.” This would not be a valuable direct quote if it was a research paper or an informative article. This type of statement would only be useful in an op-ed because it adds to the feel and emotion of the story instead of the data and facts.

Nina’s Sources on The Effect of Animal Agriculture on the Environment

  1. This article from The New York Times explains the effects of the meat industry on water intake, greenhouse gas emissions, and erosion.
  2. This documentary, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, follows one environmentalist and his journey to find the truth about the effects of animal agriculture on many different areas including water consumption, deforestation, and climate change.
  3. This clip from Bill Maher has a young author named Xiuhtezcatl Martinez on his show to promote his new book, but I found a specific clip very useful for my essay due to the description of the outcome of no longer consuming meat that Xiuhtezcatl Martinez gave.