November 2018 SAT Essay Sample: "Lesson of Santa Barbara Oil Spill: Leave Petroleum in the Ground"

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November 2018 SAT Essay Sample: "Lesson of Santa Barbara Oil Spill: Leave Petroleum in the Ground"

While human beings are trying to obtain resources from the nature, such exploitation is also accompanied by havoc on the ecosystem. In response to the dangerous oil spill, the author David Helvarg joins the lobby for ocean conservation, expecting the Obama administration to suspend new offshore drilling. In order to engage readers to his argument, the author makes full use of case-based evidence, manipulates contrast deftly and employs emotional appeals.

Mr. Helvarg takes advantage of case-based evidence, establishing ethos from the moment he beginning arguing.The case about Santa Barbara oil spill is shown that an underground pipeline ruptured and oil polluted coastlines. This unpleasant incident is apt to hook readers' attentions, for it coincides with the beginning of high beach season while visitors are not allowed to enjoy sunshine in this area. Meanwhile, rather than from drilling rigs, this leakage results from so-called safe offshore pipelines; so the author makes it clear that the highlight of his argument centers on offshore drilling. Then David alludes to the past similar cases in order that he proves offshore oil spill is not a rarity. First, the history of offshore drilling is traced back to California in the last 19thcentury and a blowout happened in 1969 despite the federal government's efforts to promise that "spills would be a thing of the past". Such historical experience lends a credence to the claim that offshore drilling is not absolutely free from risks and offers readers a referent that the federal government's preference for offshore drilling has parallels locals' oppositions for a long time. Moreover, another recent case is mentioned in order to further arouse readers' concerns about oil spill. BP blowout is so severe that almost every reader can recognize the catastrophic consequence. By employing this impressive and credible incident, readers, especially those who suffered from this disaster, tend to evaluate whether the government should set up new drilling sites or not. Finally, readers are able to place these cases in a chronological order, thereby concluding that when the first site of offshore drilling came into being, the potential risks on environment and health have been never-ending. ? ?

The author also devotes the construction of the passage to logically appealing to the audience. Here he structures the middle position by means of ironic contrast between the toll caused by oil spill and the Obama administration's indifference for those massive costs. For one thing, the author reminds readers of the BP blowout and also details the negative consequences, such as workers passing away and marine animals still suffering. Also, these results are attributed to "the gross negligence on the part of BP". It is manifest that this natural tragedy is explicitly caused by offshore drilling. Readers, in turn, anticipate that the federal government would close or at least suspend the new drilling sites.However, the Obama administration's decision runs contrary to the public expectation—new drilling sites along the Atlantic seaboard and in the remote Arctic Ocean Off Alaska. For another, Mr. Helvarg deepens the conflict by reference to those lobbies' and protesters' strong attitudes towards offshore drilling.Specifically, nonpartisan delegations have proposed oppositions against any new offshore drilling and some towns and cities have passed resolutions against any practice perilous to marine ecosystem. Meanwhile, some protesters surrounded Shell Oil's Arctic rig and required ending its exploration. All these intensive responses to offshore drilling are compared sharply with Mr. Obama ignoring "leaving petroleum reserves in the ground is the best way to tackle climate change". The deft use of contrast reveals the public's unity and assertiveness in expelling new sites, but it also interprets the officials' stubborn standpoint to keep exploring offshore oil. After decoding the balanced structure, readers would gradually perceive the heavy price behind offshore oil drilling and join the citizen lobby to advocate "Get oil out".

Although his use of logos and ethos makes people comprehend the issue on an intellectual level, the emotional nature of this subject produces a very natural pathos. As for most readers, oil spill is an unfamiliar and ambiguous issue, so they fail to realize seriousness and urgency. Under such circumstance, David manages to set up imageries in targets' minds by repeating what happening on wild and marine animals.Particularly, "Seabirds, fish and mammals died in droves." Besides, he shows "the sight of dying, oil-covered birds", continuous death of bottle nose dolphins and the warning of black swan. These tragedies come from oil spill and finally remain in readers' minds; also these images leave a deep impression on reader sand evoke their sympathy for animals and condemnation of offshore drilling. Not only does the author restore images in order to empathize with readers, but he also conveys his own emotions by means of diction. Specifically, when mentioning the recent oil spill, he suggests that President Obama should "make his own pilgrimage." Here the carefully chosen word "pilgrimage" means a journey to a holy place literally. Ironically, he picks up this word to ask Mr.Obama to visit the polluted areas by himself, because it is his administration's negligence that leads to the awkward blowout. Therefore, this word connotes the author's anger towards the Obama administration's inaction and appeal to readers' support for the rallying cry "Get oil out".

Through the effective use of rhetorical tools and the mindful arrangement of this essay, the author persuades the audience that the main idea.

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