Afzal, Brenda, et al. “Children’s Environmental Health: Homes of Influence.” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 124, no. 12, Dec. 2016, pp. A209-A213. EBSCOhost, Web. 11 Apr. 2017. <>.


American Lung Association. “State of the Air® 2016.” (n.d.): n. pag. American Lung Association, 2016. Web. 11 Apr. 2017. <>.


Lallanila, Marc. “What Is the Greenhouse Effect?” LiveScience. Purch, 12 Apr. 2016. Web. 23 Apr. 2017. <>.


“Overview of Greenhouse Gases.” EPA. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 14 Apr. 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017. <>.


“Ozone Basics.” EPA. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 05 Apr. 2017. Web. 28 Apr. 2017. <>.

Source 1: This source focuses on environmental factors that affect the health of children. What I would use for my paper is the information this article has about ground-level ozone and its relationship to asthma in children. Ground-level ozone levels are related to the amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, so it connects to the health of children. When you consider the 6.3 million children under 18 years old in the United States who are affected by asthma, it creates a strong argument as to why reducing levels of GHGs that lead to higher levels of ground-level ozone would be beneficial. This source also has many other sources in its works cited that have information concerning asthma statistics and relate asthma to environmental factors.  

Source 2: “The State of the Air 2016” is a 157 page pdf with all data gathered by the American Lung Association about the quality of air in the US in 2016. There are a few specific sections of the pdf that would benefit the paper, such as  “People at Risk,” “What Needs to Be Done,” and “What You Can Do.” People at Risk has some statistics that stand out, such as “More than half the people (more than 52.1%) in the United States live in counties that have unhealthful levels of either ozone or particle pollution” (8). With some standout statistics like this about how the air quality affects the health of such a large number of people in the country, it strengthens the argument that more needs to be done to clean our air.

Source 3: “What Is the Greenhouse Effect?” explains the science behind the greenhouse effect. This source benefits the paper because, while most people have heard of the greenhouse effect, there is still a large number of people who do not know the science behind it. It adds logos to the paper by explaining this concept and making sure the reader is aware of how gases in the atmosphere and thermal radiation relate to climate change.

Source 4: In this source, the EPA separates the main categories of greenhouse gases and briefly explains how these gases are released into the atmosphere, which is an important part of the paper. It is hard to argue how we can begin to reduce emissions without first explaining how the gases are released. This source also explains the three main factors of how each of the greenhouse gases impact climate change, which is helpful in deciding which gases the paper will spend more time focusing on.

Source 5: The last source listed has information about the effects of ozone on human health. While this source has links to other sources with additional facts about the health effects of ozone, but it does provide basic information about the health effects, such as worsening “bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma,” and it acknowledges that increased ozone can lead to a need for more medical attention. This source brought to my attention that there is an entire other audience the paper could mention that I originally hadn’t thought of — those with emphysema or bronchitis. Since many of the sources concerning asthma have to do with children, and thus the audience might target parents too much, this source is a good start for finding information that could sway adults who may not care too much about asthma, but who may care more about other breathing-related health concerns.

All together, the sources work to make the effects that greenhouse gases have on human health the primary concern of the paper. After source 3 is used to explain the science behind the greenhouse effect, the other sources can be used to move the paper toward explaining how the greenhouse effect impacts human health. Primarily, they allow the focus to be on respiratory health issues; however, there are other potential health issues that could be mentioned if supplementary sources are found, such as an increased number of heat-related incidents (i.e. heat stroke), sun poisoning, and skin cancer.


possible research paper topics

The three topics I’ve been able to narrow ideas down to are reducing carbon emissions, how sexual assault cases are handled on college campuses, and protecting natural lands.

Topic one: reducing carbon emissions

Why is it important to reduce carbon emissions, and how can the US move toward lowering carbon emissions at the local and national level, including the effect of college campuses becoming more involved?

The motivation behind this idea is just that the US generally uses many dirty sources of energy, and with this Administration, there is a good chance the country won’t be taking very many steps to become more environmentally-friendly.

Information I’d be looking for is the effect of carbon emissions on climate change, health effects of air pollution, the effects of a cap on carbon emissions, current government regulations, how regulations can be improved, and the benefits of transitioning to cleaner sources of energy that produce less carbon. I’d also be looking for ways college campuses can make changes to emit less carbon, and the impacts of many colleges across the country taking these steps.

Arguments I’d expect to find would be the cost of transitioning to different forms of energy, the fact that many people disagree with the government placing regulations on things such as carbon emissions, and the cost-vs-reward for companies and colleges to take the steps to reduce their carbon emissions.

Topic two: sexual assault on college campuses

How is sexual assault handled on most college campuses by the different types of people there (professors, counselors, those in leadership positions, students, etc.), and how can it be improved?

The motivation behind this idea was seeing how many people chose sexual assault as a topic for either their website or other blog posts, articles we discussed in class, and also experiences of those close to me. Another motivating source was having someone point out that everyone on a college campus knows the severity of the consequences for academic dishonesty because of how much it is stressed, but how the severe consequences for assaulting someone are very rarely spoken about.

Information I’d be looking to find are some well-known cases, such as Emma Sulkowicz with her mattress, of sexual assault on college campuses, how the school handled the case, and how students reacted. I’d also be looking for possible reasons why many students don’t report what happens to them, and how the typical person on campus can make it less intimidating for victims to report the assaults, or at least more comfortable moving on with their lives afterwards, with or without reporting.

Arguments I’d expect to find is that many cases are a he-said/she-said, sometimes with very little evidence. There are also people who are quick to assume accusers are lying, which is a problem in and of itself that people will more easily defend the accused than someone who might have been assaulted. There also might be arguments between where the school’s responsibility ends and where the city police department’s responsibility begins. There are also problems with schools trying to protect their image by trying to brush these cases under the rug, or protecting high-profile students, like athletes. Another problem is a lack of serious punishment for such a serious crime, like with Brock Turner.

Topic three: protecting natural lands

Why is it important to protect natural lands?

The motivation for this idea is the backlash the EPA received from Trump for talking about environmental concerns, and some of the social media accounts that popped up in response. It is also because I have a personal interest in protecting natural lands and protecting wildlife, and I’ve heard about the possibility of some of these lands being sold for purposes that would degrade the land.

There is a lot of information I’d be looking to find, because I don’t really know too many details about the topic. I’d be looking for the importance of some specific ecosystems and why they need to be protected, the services that these lands provide, the impacts of destroying these lands, and the potential effects on surrounding lands from degrading land near it.

Potential arguments I’d expect to find are that people can do what they want with land, and it shouldn’t be reserved for a specific purpose, that there could be important resources in the land that would make a lot of money for specific companies or industries, and that the land might serve better purposes in the short-term, regardless of the long-term impacts.

Team Core4 – Legalizing Marijuana

The legalization of marijuana in the United States is a controversial issue. Most people tend to have a definite opinion as to whether states, or even the federal government, should legalize the drug. Many people have good reason to believe we should continue along the path of legalization, and here are a few reasons why.

Fewer arrests for nonviolent crimes.

Fewer people in prison for nonviolent crimes

  • According to the ACLU, there were 8.2 million arrests between 2001-2010 that were related to weed
  • Possession accounted for 88% of these arrests
  • The data also revealed “significant racial bias,” with black people being 3.73 times “more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.” In some states, this statistic rises to be 7.5 or even 8.5 times more likely.
  • $3,613,969,972 is spent by states every year to enforce weed-related legislation

8.2 million arrests. That means paperwork had to be done for 8.2 million arrests, time had to be spent on all of these incidents, money was spent on lawyers, and people were taken away from their lives to serve on juries. Imagine if these 8.2 million marijuana-related arrests did not occur. Imagine how police resources could have been better focused. All of this time, money, and energy could have been channeled toward arresting violent and dangerous criminals: rapists, kidnappers, armed robbers.

Additionally, even if all of these people did not receive prison time, a large amount of money is spent to keep these people in prison for nonviolent crimes. In New York City, the average cost of a single prisoner per year is $167,731. Say half of those arrested for marijuana infractions were sentenced to at least one year in prison. Using the NYC cost of a prisoner, this equates to $687,697,100,000 spent in just one year for these people to be in prison – again, for a nonviolent crime. Imagine if we spent this much less on prisons every year. This money could be channeled towards something that actually benefits the majority of citizens, such as improving infrastructure. Or, maybe, some of it could be used for prison reform. Prisons could become more like those in other countries, where prisoners are taught life skills and are rehabilitated, so that they don’t wind up back in a prison when they are finally released. There are so many ways that money could benefit the country, and keeping people in prison for marijuana is not one of them.


Nonviolent drug

Most commonly, marijuana has a relaxing effect on users. It doesn’t hype people up the same way other substances do, such as alcohol. Many have heard, seen, or been a part of drunken fights, but violence induced by marijuana is a very rare occurrence. When it does occur, it is because of some type of fear or paranoia that causes a sudden rush. Apart from this, there has been no direct causation established between marijuana use and violence.

Knowing what you buy

If it is sold from a legitimate dispensary, there’s less of a chance of it being laced with something dangerous, such as harder drugs. Lacing is a technique that can be used by dealers to get weed-smokers addicted to harder drugs without them even knowing. This is clearly dangerous, and is something that can be controlled better by legalizing weed and selling it from a dispensary.

Just like everything else that is sold, there would have to be labels indicating what strain it is, maybe what the common side effects of using that strain are, the %THC, and other information that will make it safer to buy from a dispensary than on the streets.


Weed also is not a drug from which one can overdose. There are no recorded deaths from a marijuana overdose. According to the National Cancer Institute, it isn’t even possible to overdose on weed because marijuana affects pathways in the boy called “cannaboid receptors,” which do not affect breathing. Therefore, no matter how much one ingests, marijuana cannot cause someone to stop breathing.

Other statistics show that someone would have to ingest about 40,000 times the amount of marijuana that is typically consumed in order to die. While one can take too much of it, overdosing is not a possibility.


In addition to these, there are many other reasons behind legalizing weed. This includes the fact that weed can be taxed if it is legally sold, and the tax revenue can be used to help communities. For example, the money collected from taxing weed can be used to improve schools – new textbooks, new computers, fixing health concerns in the school, and many other issues can be addressed if schools had more money; this is one way to find more money for schools. There are also medicinal purposes behind using marijuana, such as a sleep-aid, an anxiety relief substance, and it even has uses in treating more serious conditions, such as Crohn’s disease.




Conservation of Elephants

An online platform for the movement of conserving elephants will add another voice to the community of conservationists who are already working to save these animals, along with all of the other wildlife conservation efforts. Save the Elephants, an UK organization based in Kenya, was founded in 1993 and is one of the leaders for conserving elephants and their habitats. Their website has details of all of their past, current, and future projects to reach their goal, and contains information that is easy to interpret by anyone who reads it. It contains logical information presented in a way that shows their passion toward preserving elephants. In addition to Save the Elephants, there are other organizations working to protect elephants, African wildlife, and wildlife in general that use online platforms to provide information. Some of these include the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), Save Elephants, and Ninety-Six Elephants. Many of these organizations and websites encourage the conservation of elephants and ending the ivory trade that is pushing them to the brink of extinction. 

Another way this movement uses the online community to build their platform is by selling products. For example, Ivory Ella is a clothing and accessory brand that donates 10% of their net profits to Save the Elephants. With the slogan: “Good Clothes for a Good Cause,” Ivory Ella, in less than two years, has donated over $1,000,000 to Save the Elephants to help them in their projects to conserve elephants. Their products also reach people in their every-day lives and raise awareness for preserving elephants when their customers wear their products. Walking around our own campus, I usually spot a few people every week wearing an Ivory Ella shirt. Ivory Ella creates a branch between the online community of conservationists and people in their daily lives. It also helps because selling a product makes people more likely to donate money. The donation is incorporated into the price of the clothing, so customers don’t really feel like they are spending extra. Because many people are hesitant to hit the “donate now” button, offering a product in exchange makes people more willing to put some of their money toward the organization. Plus, considering some people buy Ivory Ella products as gifts for people they know love elephants, it reaches another audience of people who may actually just be neutral on the subject.

For my own website, I want to portray the information I gather as effectively as some of the other websites I found related to this cause. A lot of the websites incorporate images that support the text on the websites, or that will grab the reader’s attention to make them read that part of the website. For example, Ninety-Six Elephants uses an origami image of an elephant to say, “Join the fold,” making a clever pun for people to join others who already support the cause. They also use an image with police tape to emphasize that wildlife trafficking is a crime, and that we should work to end it. I also want to remind readers that they do not have to make a direct donation to a charity to help this movement, but that they can help by purchasing products that will raise awareness and contribute some of the profits to the cause. I want viewers of my website to have enough information on the issues facing elephants and their habitats, and to know that there is more than one way to help conservation efforts. 



To me, advocacy means to create a voice for a cause that you believe in, whether it is online, or physically at a march or protest, or just talking to the people around you. It also means that if you are creating this voice, then you have to be able to support the cause with facts and not just say that others should support it because you do. Movements that work/worked to create change that immediately come to mind are Black Lives Matter, women’s suffrage, and the Civil Rights Movement. Some interesting current movements I’d like to explore include environmental justice, conservation, pro-choice, and ecofeminism.

Conservation is one that interests me because part of what I am studying here is Wildlife Conservation and Ecology and I believe it is important to conserve what we still have of the natural world for future generations to enjoy, as well as to keep the earth healthy and in a livable condition. The pro-choice movement is one that I also feel strongly about because I believe it is an important part of women’s rights and health care that could be threatened by the new presidential administration.

A movement that I just learned about recently and find really interesting is ecofeminism. Ecofeminism focuses on all oppressed/dominated groups, including women, people of color, and the natural world. Ecofeminism is one that I find important because it connects different movements that I think are important, such as conservation, preserving nature, and advancing the rights of women and minorities. I think exploring this movement would be interesting because it would bring to light the relationships and connections between different areas of oppression in a male-dominated society. Moving forward with exploring ecofeminism might be difficult because there are many different definitions and interpretations of what “ecofeminism” is really considered because it covers so many areas, but I also think its wide variation of concerns is part of what makes it interesting and important.