Audience/Purpose Assignment

By Nabil, Connor, Peyman, and Zoe

The audience for National Geographic seems to be educated adults. There is both a print and online publication of the magazine. The online version of any news source does make it more accessible to younger people. But for both the print and online, the audience seems to be educated adults who like science and its related topics. The purpose is to learn more about the world and all the different types of science within it.

Entirely online since 1999, Grist Magazine has been writing stories about climate sustainability and social justice issues to create a “future that doesn’t suck”. The informal language and catchy tag line (A Beacon in the Smog) paired with their social justice focus makes the audience of this magazine young people that are educated/want to be and have liberal political views. The purpose, as they say is to “work toward a future that doesn’t burn and a planet that doesn’t suck”. Their goal is to educate young people and adults with internet access to learn and care about social justice issues.   

Slate Magazine is an American online publication that launched in 1996 and covers politics, arts and culture, sports, and news. There are two versions of the website, it is free to read for Americans and there is a paywall for non-Americans. It is not a breaking news source. This seems to yield a young, educated audience that cares about current American issues. The writing on the website is witty and creative and covers many different topics. This  all taken into account makes me believe the purpose is to have readers interpret the world around them and learn to understand it.

Plan Your Op-ed – Zoe Smith

The debate or controversy that I am writing about is privileged nations must combat racist policies in order to stop climate change. In summary, I want to write about the importance of combatting environmental racism, as it is so common.

The Debate in this Topic consists mostly understanding how language and policies persist to continuously hurt communities of color as well as developing nations. There has been an increase in the American right using racist language to treat climate change as a threat from other nations. I will argue that this is dangerous and is hurting the process of environmental justice and reform.________________________________. (Summarize some of the major positions in the debate in a couple of sentences. Give links to 3-4 articles that take these positions.)

“White Supremacy Goes Green”–

“What do racism and poverty have to do with pollution and climate change?”–

“Are there two different versions of environmentalism, one “white,” one “black”?”–

In this debate, I think/believe/argue  that race and privilege must be at the forefront climate reform discussion.

My position is important because it helps us understand/know the importance of creating comprehensive climate policy through understanding how discrimination functions in the justice system.

Zoe Smith’s Op-ed Post

Sorry, but the Virus Shows Why There Won’t Be Global Action on Climate Change is an op-ed by Jason Bordoff that argues despite the quick and effective response to COVID-19 there will be no transferral of quick and effective action to climate change. This is due to the refusal to uproot daily lives for climate crisis, the lack of public buy-in, and the strong link between carbon emissions and economic activity.

I believe this piece is an op-ed because of the type of language the author is using as well as the types of arguments. Throughout the article, Bordoff uses confident language. He states, “Like COVID-19, climate change is the ultimate collective action problem. Each ton of greenhouse gas contributes equally to the problem, no matter where in the world it is produced.” He continues to call the lessons Coronavirus is teaching about climate change “sobering”,  and notes a the public opinion as concern over the “so-called ” of climate risk.” Bordoff also cites many other sources, but none of his own opinion, throughout his article. It comes off as an entirely fact-based stand. He does not entertain any other arguments or narratives, as you might see in scholarly articles or essay. This hyper-focused and passionately worded argument reads to me as an op-ed.


Zoe’s Sources on Climate Change in the Marshall Islands


The Last Generation

Interactive FRONTLINE AND TheGroundTruth Documentary that follows three children lives and how climate change affects them.


 “Climate Change Has Reached Our Shores”

New York Times Op-ed claiming the Majuro Declaration is the key to combatting Marshall Islands climate disaster.


“We Are On The Front Line Of Climate Change, Marshall Islands President Says” 

NPR Podcast with Hilda Heine, president of the Marshall Islands, to talk about the impact of climate change on the island nation.

Zoe Smith Blog

I care about climate change and environmentalism because I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania. I’ve been outdoors my entire life and have begun to notice changes. The bullfrogs stopping croaking at all hours of the day. Smokestacks poked above the tree lines, billowing smoke. The local rivers were blocked off from the public. They were no longer safe for humans to swim in. My teachers told me it was because of pollution, Winters are less snowy and last longer into the Spring. Fewer snow days, Overall, not much but it definitely peaked my interest. I came to college with concerns but little experience. I am a part of the School of Public Affairs Leadership Program and am in the Environment and Sustainability group. We are working to raise money for local nonprofits to lessen pollution in DC’s rivers. I am continuing to learn the different between rural, urban, and suburban environmentalism. There are many facets of environmental injustice that I had no idea about before now. 

Taking this concern and doing something with it had been a goal of mine. I am interested in law but do not have a focus decided as of now. Environmentalism and conservation and law are connected in many ways. Lawsuits occur often over the rights of whose land is whose to abuse. Children are getting sicker everyday over poisoned taps. Now that people are starting to realize the effect they are having on the Earth, there is more disagreement about environmental health. That intersection is easy to see. As we move forward though, I believe the intersection will widen. Opening up more cases like Flint, MI. People are going to be put in danger by the suffering environment. I believe the disagreement between people are environment will turn from a ‘this will occur’ to ‘this is occurring and people are sick’. Environmental Law will become a battle between the Earth and its people harming each other because it will just keep getting worse. I find this will apply to everyone, including me, because there is no escape from climate change and educators, lawyers, protective forces, and people will have to stand up against it.