What is an example evaluative essay?
This is the fourth and final lesson about Evaluative Essays. To complete this course, read each lesson carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.
– Provide an example evaluative essay about global warming
– Highlight the useful language structures of evaluation
– Encourage the use of supplementary worksheets to check comprehension
At some point during your academic career, you will very likely be asked to write an evaluative essay of between 1,000 and 1,500 words on a particular topic. When combined with Lessons 1, 2 and 3 on this subject, the following example essay should clearly indicate how to structure, develop and support an evaluative essay that contains both counter-arguments and arguments and concession and rebuttal. Although as was highlighted in Lesson 3 there is no one structure when writing this essay type, the most important tip to remember here is to include all of the appropriate elements and key features of evaluative writing such as stance. The following essay therefore has some key language bolded for you throughout:
Evaluative Essay Question:
Global warming may provide more advantages than disadvantages for the future of this planet. Discuss.
Evaluative Example Essay:
The phenomenon that is often referred to as global warming was first coined in 1978 by climate scientist Alfred Sinclair.1 Sinclair (1978p. 95) announced to the world that the temperature of the Earth had increased by ‘half a degree in the last 30 years’.2 Although it may not sound significant, this increase is more than the total increase of the previous 200,000 years (Mcleod, 1990).3 The temperature has continued to rise since Sinclair’s announcement, which most scientists attribute to the significant increase in greenhouse gases that prevent solar radiation exiting the Earth’s atmosphere.4 However, to what extent this phenomenon is going to negatively effect life on this planet is contested.5 Although some possible benefits may occur as a result of rising temperatures such as a localised increase in plant-life, this essay argues that global warming is having a mostly negative impact.6 The majority of evidence indicates that the consequences of climate change are not only negatively impacting the global environment, but are increasing food and water scarcity and threatening the existence of the polar ice caps.7
One commonly highlighted positive impact of global warming is the possible increase in plant-life in cold regions of the planet.8 Butler (2017) argues that by 2030 there will be 8% more arable land available in areas that have historically been too cold for agriculture.9 For example, uninhabited parts of Siberia may become more likely to have wide expanses of fertile and farmable land.10 White (2018) claims that regions such as Siberia could experience an agricultural boom, and that climate change in this respect may encourage different migration patterns for both humans and animals.11 From this perspective, global warming is not necessarily a threat to humanity and the Earth.12 Similarly, Jenkins (2013) suggests that the arctic tundra will see an increase in plant reproduction, which will almost certainly result in new species emerging within that region.13 However, scientists such as Jenkins also acknowledge that the regions to which they are referring are often those which ‘do not receive a significant amount of sunlight’ (White, 2018, p. 09).14 Therefore, in terms of agricultural land, these areas cannot be considered a viable option to replace current land.15 Ultimately, the argument that global warming will provide life new opportunities is not yet well developed.16
Rather than providing the possibility of future habitats, global warming appears instead to be destroying existing species and their living environments.17 As of 2018, the number of polar bears still in existence dropped 89% over the past century (Theon, 2019).18 Similarly, multiple species of penguins are now almost extinct, with Arctic marine life having declined by over 20% since 1976 (Jenkins, 2017).19 As the ice caps have melted, landmass for these creatures has declined and water temperatures have increased.20 Consequently, the habitats of these animals are constantly diminishing.21 Additional evidence of the extent of the problem is that global warming not only negatively impacts life in colder regions but warmer ones are threatened too.22 Areas around the equator for example are now experiencing increased droughts.23 As a result, species of bird, insect and mammal have all become entirely extinct (Tolly, 2016a).24 The mass extinction of wildlife inevitably impacts the food chain of those regions which on this scale can have ‘unpredictable and unprecedented consequences on the whole planet’ (Laurence, 2016, p. 84).25 Therefore, global warming appears to be negatively impacting on existing habitats and their ecosystems.26
In addition to animal species, humanity may also be directly experiencing increased challenges as a result of global warming.27 Droughts, shifting climate patterns, and the melting of the ice caps are all impacting upon food and water supplies. For example, since 1998 six out of the twelve most-harvested regions of the world have experienced droughts, directly reducing the amount of food available for approximately 4 billion of the world’s population (Rowster, 2016).28 Although for most countries these situations can be controlled through the careful distribution of available resources, the increasing occurrence and scale of these events may very likely create a world food crisis soon (Shatner, 1999).29 Furthermore, regions which suffer from drought are more likely to now experience extreme heat waves, particularly those in the sub-Saharan band across Africa and leading into the Middle East.30 Consequently, life in these regions is diminishing and pressure in surrounding regions from human migration is increasing.31 Additionally, since 1998, eighteen out of the fifty US states have experienced record amounts of flooding (ibid.), damaging food supplies, properties, transportation routes and drinking-water supplies (Tolly, 2016b).34 Drinking water is particularly an issue for the 1/6th of the world’s population that rely on the periodic fresh water cycle, which is under continuous threat from the decline of the polar ice caps.35 Evidently, the threat to human life from global warming has already occurred and is likely to continue to be negative.36
Though already briefly mentioned in the previous two paragraphs, it is worth mentioning here that one of the most negative impacts of global warming is the melting of the polar ice caps.37 The reason this is such a concern is because ‘when most of the planet is already made of water, dramatically changing it can only have dramatic consequences’ (Theon, 2019, p.99).39 As the ice caps melt, less of the Earth’s surface can reflect the sun’s solar radiation, which contributes further still to increased global temperatures.40 Significantly, this process also releases currently trapped methane in the ocean which contributes further still to greenhouse gases (ibid.).41 As a result, it is predicted that if the polar region loses 30% more of its glaciers, the average temperature of the earth could increase by four degrees (Theon, 2019; Tolly, 2016a).42 Consequently, it is estimated that 35% of all current life on this planet would become extinct within a decade of this occurring (Tolly 2016a; Browner, 2016).43 Therefore, it is quite clear that increased global temperatures may cause a reduction in the ice caps, which could very negatively impact life.44
Overall, the assertion that global warming could bring positive opportunities for humanity seems perhaps irrelevant when countered by the severity of the negative impacts this phenomenon is having and will continue to have.45 The prospect that biodiversity could shift or even expand in colder regions and that landmasses could become more habitable for farming is a positive ideal.46 However, more research may be required to determine how productive these environments will indeed become.47 Rather, it is evident that global species have become extinct or are suffering because of severe weather conditions that are the result of increased global temperatures.48 It is therefore time to consider what the greater cost is to humanity.49 Perhaps any economic cost as a result of preventing global warming further will, in the long term, be far cheaper than the cost of its eventual impacts.50
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