‘Plastics in Our Oceans, Plastics in Our Bodies: Are There Any Answers?’
Your background paper will explain the environmental issues of plastics to an educated, non-scientific audience. Examples of your target audience include: final year school students or first year university students, an environmental group concerned about the oceans, a blog site, or other audience of your choice. A background paper should be written for an audience who is less-informed than you are.
The aim of the background paper is to present the issues concerning plastics in our environment and our bodies in an accurate, referenced, and readable format.
Ø Part 3 is worth 10% of your total final mark for the unit. It is due in Week 5. (Friday, 5pm).
Introduction: What is a background paper, and who commissions it?
A background paper is a review or balanced summary of information relevant, in this case, to an issue of importance to the natural environment and human society. A background paper aims to clearly and comprehensively summarise and explain relevant aspects of the issue.
It may be commissioned (ordered) by an organization. It is aimed at people, for example, politicians, who may not be well- informed about the issue they must debate, and need to quickly absorb and assess that information.
A background paper should be written for an audience who is less-informed than you are. Examples of your target audience may include: final year school students or first year university students, an environmental group concerned about the oceans, a blog site, or other audience of your choice.
For an example of the layout of a background paper, see the end of this section.
*First, select your target audience. At the end of your finished paper, state the audience for whom your paper is intended.
*Use the Casey article and your research as the basis of the information in your background paper. Use any other information of interest that you have found whilst doing your research.
*Your background paper should have the following broad structure:
Table of Contents. This will consist of Introduction, Headings (think of a phrase that summarises the main idea of each of your paragraphs) and Conclusion (the Conclusion points to the way forward).
Introduction: This is a summary of the major issues, plastics in the oceans, plastics in our bodies. It should have a ‘hook’, a summarizing sentence or quote that leads the reader into the BODY of your paper.
BODY. In the body of your paper, expand on your main ideas and explain your point of view. The body of your paper should be broken up into paragraphs. ‘One idea, one paragraph’.
Conclusion: In this section, summarise the points you have made. End with a closing sentence that states your point of view, relating the conclusion to the Introduction, and points the way forward.
Organising your background paper.
In your paper, discuss and evaluate your research on the following issues:
1. How and why plastics were invented and what they are used for.
2. Are there any uses of plastics that are viewed as essential to humans?
3. The chemical structure of plastics. How plastics differ from polymers synthesized by living organisms (e.g. cellulose, the world’s most abundant polymer).
4. Why plastics do not degrade, but simply become smaller and smaller plastic particles.
5. How and why plastics have become a serious environmental problem.
6. The nature of ocean gyres, why they form, their possible roles in climate regulation, and why plastics accumulate in the gyres.
7. Global effects of plastics on marine life.
8. How plastics enter the food chain and the biological consequences of accumulating plastic-related chemicals such as bisphenol A.
9. Current research efforts to produce plastics with a reduced environmental impact.
10. In the final section of the background paper, refer manufacturing standards that could be applied to plastics, with the aim of alleviating environmental problems. Refer to and evaluate other attempts at solving the plastics problem.
EXAMPLE OF ORGANISATION OF A BACKGROUND PAPER:
HUMAN RIGHTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Human Rights: Everyone, Everywhere, Everyday