The analysis of American life and sustainablity

The world is constantly being regarded as existing currently in a state of environmental emergency. Alarmist and factual claims of an inevitable and irreversible deterioration of our environment and wildlife all add to a massive wave of panic among the population. We live on a planet that is entirely dependent on “dirty” methods of energy production, methods which also have a finite availability of resources. Furthermore, we are expected to continue the exponential growth prediction of our world population within the next century with great concerns of sustaining this much life.

This assignment is designed to enable critical and efficient research among students who will ultimately decide what the effects are of the worlds current ways of supporting life, if there are any. Students are free to claim whatever they feel is the right opinion, however they must substantially back their claims with credible and persuasive evidence. This course is not only intended for the enhancement of research habits, but it is also intended to teach the art of persuasion.

Important aspects to consider in research include:

  • Diets around the world and their related environmental footprint
  • Affluence of nations and their pollution levels
  • Industrial practices and their sustainability
  • Current pending issues pertaining to agriculture
  • Population growth
  • Displacement, migration, “urban sprawl”

Students will ultimately put together a thesis which looks at all aspects of sustainability and methods which will allow for the support of the next century of population growth. Any methods researched should include a comprehensive analysis of practicality, pros, cons, and implementation time. This thesis should be thoroughly research based, but also must focus heavily on being argumentative to convince readers. Refrain from being opinionated without evidential claims to support statements.

Research is certainly going to need to be accredited. Refrain from using websites which are speculative with no real evidence to support their argument (“pseudo-science”). The best sources for research will certainly be credible scholarly articles, scientific journals, and professional studies conducted by universities/ research organizations/ government bureaus.

Students will have one month to produce a quality, convincing thesis paper which will take a look at all aspects of the sustainability crisis the world is currently facing. Students can either choose to work in groups or work alone, the primary graded component will be the credibility and power of persuasive writing conventions.

The bulk of the work will be done outside of class, however several days within the month-long period will be designated towards revision among peers and also with the help of me.

Sources to begin research include:

“World Population Projected to Reach 9.7 Billion by 2050” by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

“Renewable Energy Can Provide 80% of U.S Electricity by 2050” by the Union of Concerned Scientists


A Missionary Of Technology

          Digital Pedagogy Lab is a peer-edited journal focusing on the discussion of education methods and their implementation in academic institutions. They discuss what some may consider to be unorthodox methods of teaching as compared to the traditional sense and have the ultimate goal of “… advocating for the elevation of the student and the contingent teacher, the proliferation of voices across education, and the ongoing investigation and creative implementation of digital and critical pedagogies.”

          The audience of this journal is very clear- that is individuals currently involved in, pursuing, or considering to be a part of the force of educators in the modern world. This audience is inevitably the new generation of teachers and open minded teachers of older age, all sharing the common openness to changing the system and state of modern education. The audience has seen the decades of predictable results from the rigid system currently in place and is willing to try new methods in the classroom as an experiment to possibly generate better results among student engagement and motivation.

          In the articles prompted in this classes blogs, two topics are presented to the reader- the current problems and limitations imposed on students due to geographical or socioeconomic status, and methods of making a class setting more engaging. What seemed to be very interesting to me is the contrast of these two articles, as “It’s About Class: Interrogating the Digital Divide” focuses on the needs of technology in a classroom and the effects of its unavailability, while “Why Start With Pedagogy?” focuses on methods of schooling which require no technology. To my surprise, it was stated in the latter article, “You don’t need any technology to transform your classroom from a credential-centered or professor-centered environment (information and ideas emanating from you to your students) to a student-centered, interactive, engaged, research-based, goal driven, egalitarian classroom.”

          The author of “It’s About Class” didn’t seem to do a very good job at convincing the audience to why technology is needed in a classroom. For starters, she begins to say that in school, students must be given time to “play” as students are simply instructed to do and use technology in “drill-and-kill” manners. This “playing” would be through the form of blogging or using social media platforms such as twitter. It is with this idea that I find her ideas on changing education to be rather farfetched. While technology is important and can be extremely helpful in aiding the learning process, students are in school to learn. Encouraging students to experiment with Twitter and other social media platforms is simply a large investment with no real tangible or substantial return in comparison to other methods of learning with technology. Furthermore, Bessette contradicts herself by stating that her desires of what she wishes for her students is not what the students want for themselves. Contradiction is seen as she states, “One of the reasons [her students] disdain the technology is because many of them don’t see how it will help them get a job in their low-tech worlds; better to know how to hunt, grow gardens… etc. I am constantly in awe of all they do know how to do, versus what I (unfortunately) think they should know how to do. To these students, living in an area that seems to have most employment through labor and trades, Twitter would serve very little if any real good.


  1. What are your thoughts on the idea of allowing students to “play” with or “misuse” their technology and the possible effects on productivity/engagement of a classroom using this practice?
  2. Is technology truly a necessity in modern education? Why or why not?

Works Cited

Bessette, Lee S. “It’s About Class: Interrogating the Digital Divide.” Digital Pedagogy Lab, n.d. Web. 2 July 2012.

Davidson, Cathy N. “Why Start With Pedagogy? 4 Good Reasons, 4 Good Solutions.” Digital Pedagogy Lab, n.d. Web. 8 July 2015

My Introduction

Hello, my name is Jack Kunis and I am a freshman at Queens College and I will be majoring in music education. Aside from loving music I’m also a huge fan of snowboarding and skiing and being outdoors. I’m really excited to be studying at Queens this year and hope to learn a lot from my professors and peers. I always enjoyed writing and seemed to enjoy writing thesis papers/opinionated papers of persuasion. My weaknesses in writing are mostly in creative writing. I really am excited to improve my weak points in writing this semester.