Julian Hansen
Tuesday March 26, 2019

Part I: Decision Blog Post

For my fully realized experiment, I’ve chosen to write an op-ed. I’ve struggled a lot with this decision (which I see as a good thing) because I could see myself realizing all 3 of the projects. I choose the op-ed, however, because I think it would be the most intellectually challenging, and beneficial to ‘force’ myself to really do research to justify and back-up my opinions.

My origin piece (an empirical research essay written in the IMRAD structure) was written out of frustration. I was frustrated that very few of my environmentalist peers and friends were taking collective action to fight climate change, and wanted to find out why. I am a person that dedicates a significant time to organizing events and actions around climate action on U-M’s campus, and found that despite occupying a variety of different environmental circles, few people showed up to these events, and even less were in the planning rooms.

I asked my environmental peers “what actions do you take to fight climate change on a daily basis” and found that many people were taking very individual actions (not eating meat, walking instead of driving, recycling) and few were taking collective action (education, awareness raising, organizing, event planning). Again, being born out of a sense of frustration, I realized that I wasn’t frustrated with the lack of environmental action, but rather the lack of ​collective e​ nvironmental action.

I want to write this op-ed to those who think of themselves as environmentalists but are absent in the planning rooms. I want to write this op-ed to those who think that recycling is enough, or who think that walking instead of taking the bus is enough. Is it needed? YES. Is it enough? No, well not in my opinion. I want to write this to convince those who don’t take collective action that collective action is ​necessary​. The issues of climate change are not being solved fast enough, and we need ​everyone​. Using collective action to change large-scale policy is much more beneficial and impactful than forcing the responsibility on individuals, forcing them to fix the problems and carry the guilt of not doing everything possible. We need collective action.

I believe in this experiment because I think it would challenge me to very articulately write out my beliefs, and also find fact to back-up these opinions. All successful op-eds use fact to explain opinion, thus forcing me to do research for exact numbers about the impacts of collective action versus the impact of individual actions. Again, both needed, but we can’t just have individuals doing individual action. I am excited to do the research so that I can both have more a more sophisticated and nuanced argument, both in my writing and daily life. I find myself talking about this a lot, so having figures will be very beneficial for me. I’m also excited to get the opportunity to carefully craft my opinion and get it down on paper.

This is a strong genre because fact and opinion is a strong balance, and, like previously mentioned, the op-ed needs both. One challenge is that people don’t like being told what to do, especially over writing, so it might potentially come across as accusatory or threatening.

I want to publish my peace in the Michigan Daily. I recently published one about my reflection on the March 15 Climate Strike, and it was a great platform to voice my opinion. It is easy to get it published, and is close enough to home that I can bring in specific examples of U-M collective action to back-up my point.

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