These writing prompts on the environment are perfect for fourth grade, fifth grade, middle school and high school students. The prompts will encourage them to start thinking more about the world around them, while challenging them to write essays about the environment. Whether you are discussing recycling, air pollution, or what to do with public lands, these environmental writing prompts will get your students thinking a little greener.
Writing Prompts for Younger Grades
→ Writing Prompt 1: A king has granted you the superpower of saving the earth. What three things will you do to help nature or animals survive?
→ Writing Prompt 2: Think of a clean, sandy beach and then imagine it filled with food wrappers, water bottles, and plastic bags that people did not throw away. How does the image of the dirty beach make you feel? What can you do to convince your friends of the importance of not littering?
→ Writing Prompt 3: If one of your classmates litters outside on the playground, it probably doesn’t seem like a big deal. But what if none of you threw away your trash? How long would it take for you not to be able to play on your playground?
→ Writing Prompt 4: Write a story about a recycled item, like a can, a water bottle or a plastic bag, and tell about its adventures along the way.
→ Writing Prompt 5: Studies show that very few people recycle. Consequently, the earth is being overrun with trash. Why should we recycle and how would you convince your family to do it?
→ Writing Prompt 6: Do you feel that pollution is influencing the climate of our planet? Is man-made pollution responsible for Global Warming? Write an essay on what could be done about it.
→ Writing Prompt 7: Explain the importance of the Amazon rainforest for our planet earth.
For Older Grades
→ Writing Prompt 8: Smog is an atmospheric pollutant that that typically affects large cities and can endanger human health. As the newly elected mayor of a major city heavily impacted by smog, write an essay explaining some measures you would propose to reduce the level of smog in your city.
→ Writing Prompt 9: Honey bees not only make honey; they also pollinate about 80% of all the fruits and vegetables that we eat. Therefore, everything from apples to zucchini is available to us because of the hard work of the honey bee. And yet, they may be headed for extinction. Why do you think this is happening? Could it be the result of the toxic chemicals we use? Some have suggested that a possible reason is all of the cell phones and radio frequencies have caused electromagnetic interference. Write an essay on what you believe might be the cause, and what you think we can do to keep the honey bees from becoming extinct.
→ Writing Prompt 10: Our world produces hundred of millions of plastic bags, which are intended to be reused, but are often used only once. Should they be banned? If they are banned, what would people use to line their trashcans, throw out dirty diapers, or take wet towels home from the beach?
→ Writing Prompt 11: There is a Native American saying which states, Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. Do you think that we should live this philosophy in our daily lives in order to keep Earth viable for future generations? What types of things can each of us do that will make a difference generations from now?
→ Writing Prompt 12: Acid rain is any type of precipitation that contains acidic components such as sulfur dioxide. It could potentially lead to serious repertory problems and greatly impact human health. Investigate some of the main causes of acid rainfall and what could be done to deal with it.
→ Writing Prompt 13: Pick an animal that is facing possible extinction due to environmental conditions and write a story where you are the animal. Write about your typical day and explain the types of things you do each day to survive.
Writing Prompts on the
→ Writing Prompt 14: The anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Do you believe that’s true? What do you think a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can do to help our environment? Pick a subject (animal extinction, saving the rain forest, cleaner water for all people around the world, or whatever is important to you). Then write about what people could do in their day-to-day lives to change the world for the better.
→ Writing Prompt 15: It is estimated that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every day due to the deforestation of rain forests. That means we are losing over 50,000 species every year. The reason the land is being cleared is for the timber, for mining operations, and to provide grazing areas for large scale cattle ranching. What do you think can or should be done to stop the deforestation?
→ Writing Prompt 16: According to the environmental website, greenupgrader.com, plastic water bottles don’t begin composting for 700 years. That means if water bottles were in existence in the 1300’s and someone threw one out, it would only start composting now. Does reading something like this make you think twice before buying water bottles? Or does the convenience for people outweigh the environmental impact? What do you think we should do to convince people not to use plastic water bottles?
→ Writing Prompt 17: Your class has been studying ways of improving our environment. One of these ways is by recycling items you would normally throw away. This might be an empty paper towel roll, empty milk carton, or plastic forks and spoons. Explain how you can create or recycle something from a discarded item or throwaway.
→ Writing Prompt 18: Gasoline and diesel powered engines are a necessary part of modern life, but they have an affect on the environment. Write an essay that discusses the environmental impact of the use of gas and diesel engines versus what these devices provide for society.
→ Writing Prompt 19: Water is life. There is the same amount of water now on Earth as when it was first created. For us, it’s easy; we turn on the tap and there it is. Yet in Africa and Asia, women and children spend about 6 hours a day collecting water and walk, on average 3.7 miles a day to do so, according to water.org. This is time they should be spending in school or caring for their families. Think of five ways you and your family could conserve water.
→ Writing Prompt 20: The mayor has to make a big decision. He must decide if the vacant land in your community should be used for a new shopping mall or for a park. Write a letter to the mayor giving your opinion and state why you chose the answer you did.
→ Writing Prompt 21: Should Congress pass a law requiring automobile manufacturers to use more fuel efficient engines? Write an essay taking a stance either for or against and support your position with examples.
→ Writing Prompt 22: Over 40% of the rivers worldwide have an alarming amount of pharmaceutical pollution according to some recent findings. They include pharmaceutical chemicals in prescription and over-the-counter medications which are typically released into the environment during their manufacturing, usage, and disposal, and up in the surface. What can we do to reduce the emissions of these substances into the environment?
→ Writing Prompt 23: Picture your favorite nature spot. It could be a park or a camping site, a beach or even your own backyard. Now envision what it would look like if no one had thrown out any of the garbage they’ve used there for the last two years. See in your mind the water bottles, plastic bags, and fast food bags littered all over. Two years worth! Do you think it makes much of an impact if each of us just takes care of our own little corner of the earth? Why or why not?
Writing Prompts on the Environment
→ Writing Prompt 24: A tract of land is being sold in your community. Fictitious bidders include the National Park Service, a children’s hospital, a shopping-mall developer, an oil drilling company, and the U.S. Armed Forces. Choose one and become a lobbyist for one that group writing arguments on behalf of their interests.
→ Writing Prompt 25: “When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” Think about that Benjamin Franklin quote for a moment. Think about how often (brushing your teeth, taking a shower, flushing a toilet, cleaning your clothes, washing dishes, and cooking meals) and how easily we use water. We merely open a tap, push a button, grab a water bottle, etc. Now imagine waking up to no water. How would you cope? What would you do?
→ Writing Prompt 26: What are the man-made causes for plants and animals to go extinct?
→ Writing Prompt 27: Before Earth Day was created in 1970 it was legal for factories to spew toxic smoke into the air and dump toxins in nearby streams. Senator Nelson decided to do something about it, so he created Earth Day, which in turn created the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. Write an essay on how damaged our planet (and our health) would be today, if Senator Nelson had not pushed for a cleaner environment.
→ Writing Prompt 28: There are many activities people can engage in that are helpful to our environment. For example, recycling, carpooling, using eco-friendly shopping bags, planting a vegetable garden and many others. Choose one of these activities and write an essay convincing someone to actively participate in the activity.
→ Writing Prompt 29: On average, people waste a gallon of water each time they brush their teeth if they let the faucet run. Picture ten soda cans full of wasted water. That would be 20 water-filled soda cans if you brush twice a day. If you’re a family of five, that would be 100 cans of wasted water every single day. Do you think knowing these facts will make you more aware when you brush your teeth? Why or why not?
→ Writing Prompt 30: Climate change is warming the world’s oceans. Antarctica is one of the regions of the world most affected by these warmer waters, as its ice sheets are melting at an alarming rate. In turn, this could lead to a dramatic rise in sea levels. Being that we live so far away from Antarctica, should this melting ice concern you? Write an essay explaining why it should or why it should not.
→ Writing Prompt 31: One of the major topics covered recently during the yearly European Conference of Protected Areas, was increasing the involvement of young people in environmental conservation and protected areas. How important would this be for the future of nature conservation? What kind of attractive job opportunities could be offered to young people entering the workforce?