Getting your message out

Today’s blog post comes from Eliot Neal, one of the students in this summer’s program.

Week 1 269“The School for the Environment was honored to have Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and popular environmentalist, join us on Tuesday evening for a workshop on writing op-ed pieces. McKibben is something of a media wizard, and can often be seen on television or gracing the pages of well-known newspapers and magazines. Needless to say, he knows how to get his message across. One of his best tools is the op-ed piece. His talk outlined some of the basic guidelines for writing an op-ed piece, and revealed what helps to make an op-ed successful and widely read. Critiquing examples of op-eds that both he and others had written, McKibben taught us how to avoid some of the common pitfalls that plague op-ed pieces. We will be working with McKibben later in the program when we write our own op-eds in our elective classes.

“One of the major focuses here at the School for the Environment is the power of communication. It is not enough to simply measure, say, levels of pollutants in Lake Champlain. You must then be able to translate that hard data into language that everyone can understand. Additionally, if you wish to enact any change, you must be able to get the attention of people who can make that change happen. As we learned from McKibben, one of the most effective ways to do this is to write an op-ed. By acquiring the necessary skills to communicate information and ideas, we will be much more prepared to tackle the environmental issues that we have explored in the SoE.

Week 1 274

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