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09/04/2019

How to start this persuasive essay…?

QUESTION
How to start this persuasive essay…?
I need to write a persuasive essay about desertification in Sudan for my science class. I’m not sure how to start off or what to argue about… Any ideas…?

ANSWER
You should consider the factual situation, and then whether you wish to argue for good vs. bad coming out of it. That’s the usual approach to “issues.”

So… is desetification in the Sudan occurring? Occurring at a rising rate? At a declining rate? How does it affect… anything you think might interest your audience (the science class, well, the science teacher)?

For instance, one might find it is happening, and at a declining rate. One could then think this would interest the class (well, the teacher) in regard to how the lives of the people there are improving because of that. But… that assumes the lives of the people there ARE improving. What if the factual situation is occurring because people are the major cause of desertification and the civil war is slaughtering so many people that it is declining? Better not try to fall on the side of saying that’s a good thing. (It might be, but you’re gonna get an F saying so.)

So, what is the factual situation? What parts of it (the causes as well as the headlining effect) might interest your audience? Pick the one that would seem to be of greatest interest to them.

Then think about what to say and how to support your statements. Can you do it? If you’re vegan and you find reducing desertification requires more plants and fewer animals, you might easily be able to speak convincingly. But if you’re a vegan and you find more animals and animals-as-food solves the problem, then this might not be the part to speak about. If you cannot find sufficient support for your statements, or even so little that you don’t have ideas for statements, this is definitely not the part to speak about.

So you need to know the factual situation. You need to evaluate which portions would interest your audience. You then need to consider how well you can speak about various portions. Finally, you need to pick the best mix of interest to the audience vs. what you can accomplish with that portion. Sometimes there is no mix that will both interest an audience and be done well enough to earn a decent grade.

In that case you need a different topic, or to spend a lot more effort on the “be done well enough to earn a decent grade” part of things.

My guess here would be that the extermination of the southerners by the northerners is having little direct effect. The likeliest effect it is having would be that, since the southerners are forced to flee, to be migratory, and have now little interest in preserving land quality, that the slaughter of the southerners IS increasing desertification. You might like to support that thought and focus on the inhumane slaughter, and on the ease with which that can be ended, with the idea that that would reduce the rate of desertification (we are assuming desertification is a bad thing, of course). This would put you on the side of the angels (oh how awful, the slaughter…) and imply the earth somehow needs less desertification (oh how horrifying that sounds!). Both ought to be winners among the audience. But flash in plenty of factual support about the way the slaughter causes more desertification so the teacher believes you studied the subject. That’ll be the likely winner with him.

And it’d be true, eh? Since you had to study the situation to come up with the facts… So everyone’s a winner! You learned, he taught, the kids were convinced…