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Author: smithaj (page 1 of 1)

COP26- Deforestation

One major issue being discussed in COP26 is deforestation. Last week, a number of nations pledged to end deforestation by 2030. This included Brazil and Russia, which have the largest areas of forest. If nations stick to this pledge, then it would in theory be good for both the atmosphere and forest ecosystems. However, I’m skeptical that such a pledge will work. Past pledges that have had similar goals have been unsuccessful, and the world’s forest area has been decreasing steadily over the past couple of decades. After the Glasgow Conference, I think that most countries will likely go back to doing what’s best for their economy since there are essentially no consequences for countries that break that pledge. Indonesia has already spoken out against the pledge, saying that the country should have full access to the resources on its land.

Nuclear Energy

I think that nuclear energy could be a good temporary source of energy, but I don’t think that it could be a viable long term solution. At the moment, nuclear energy is needed if we have any hope of reaching net zero emissions. However, although nuclear energy doesn’t not produce a significant amount of emission, it still produces radioactive waste. If the world begins to rely on nuclear energy, then I think that the waste will definitely cause problems in the long-term. Furthermore, I think that there is also a substantial ethical issue on where nuclear power plants should be built. The disasters in Fukushima and Chernobyl have shown that nuclear plants can be very dangerous, and the people surrounding these plants are at risk. Nuclear energy may become a better option if scientists can better ensure the safety of people living near plants.

Media Bias- NBC: Today

I chose to investigate Today because my family watched the Today show almost every morning when I was growing up. Therefore, I was curious to learn more about the reliability of the source. According to the media bias chart, NBC: Today has a bias score of -1.22, which means that it is slightly left-leaning. This does not surprise me because the Today show did tend to have commentary that was skewed to the left. Today received a score of 42.00 for reliability, which means that it has a mix of fact reporting and analysis. This also doesn’t surprise me. While the main purpose of Today seems to be fact reporting, there is clearly some commentary and opinions on the different topics. Overall, I still think that Today is a decent source for surface-level, day-to-day news. However, I think that it’s also important to recognize that it is slightly left-leaning, and commentary and analysis are included in reports.

Car and Gasoline Issue

I chose to join the “we need to reduce our gas use” side because I don’t think that the answer needs to be all or nothing. I understand that cars are a critical part of modern society, and I know that expensive electric vehicles likely aren’t a viable solution. However, I interpreted the statement “we need to reduce our gas use” as meaning that we need to work toward cleaner and more sustainable transportation. It’s very unreasonable to expect everyone to either stop driving or transition to electric cars. However, I think that society can work toward making more efficient cars or more affordable electric cars. There has already been significant progress even in the past few years with electric cars. While drastic changes to transportation may not be possible, I do think that we can and should consistently make incremental changes that would reduce gasoline usage.

Letter Set #1 Revisions

To improve the first letter of letter set 1, I would entirely remove the third paragraph. The author makes it clear that they are physically struggling in the second paragraph. The third paragraph expands on this point by describing the specific symptoms that he experiences. Although these descriptions do strengthen his claim that his health is failing, they do little to support the overall argument that healthcare reform is necessary. Because there is a limited word count for the letter, I found these extra details unnecessary.  I would replace this paragraph by drawing attention to the prevalence of chronic diseases in the United States:


According to the CDC, 6 in 10 adults in the United States have at least one chronic disease, and 4 in 10 have more than one. Therefore, over half of adults in America have a chronic illness that may affect their ability to get health care. Those who are lucky enough to not have such a disease are likely to know someone who does. It may be tempting to ignore health care reform if you are healthy now, but there’s a high likelihood that you or a loved one will struggle with a chronic illness later in your life. Therefore, health care reform should be an issue that concerns all Americans.

Originally the author told residents of Pennslyvania to “think about [him] and others,” but he didn’t explain how healthcare reform would be personally beneficial to healthy readers. He depicts how he has struggled with disease and healthcare, which does encourage sympathy from the audience. However, the author could have created a more compelling overall argument if he had combined his appeal for sympathy with a logical line of reasoning. This new paragraph makes the logical argument that healthcare reform is an issue that applies to all Americans, and the claim is supported with statistics from the CDC. Rather than just feeling bad for the author of the letter, readers would consider how their own ability to get healthcare would be affected if they were one of the 6 in 10 adults with a chronic disease.