Brian Wiltgen’s fifth-grade students at Manz Elementary School in Eau Claire were asked to write persuasive letters in class. The following are excerpts from some of those letters.
On quitting smoking:
• An addiction to tobacco is mental and physical. Most smokers are well aware of the harmful health effects of smoking, which kills an estimated 443,000 people in the United States each year. ... Nearly one in five deaths in the United States can be attributed to smoking.
• If you’re a parent that smokes and you’re feeding your kids healthy stuff, good, you’re not feeding them junk. But all those veggies will not overrule the carbon monoxide in your kid’s body, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ... In conclusion, people should stop smoking in all places, outside or inside. I strongly urge you, Eau Claire citizens, to stop smoking.
• On average, one person spends about $6,000 on cigarette packs each year. ... Cigarettes contain sewer gas, rat poison, toilet cleaner, car exhaust, nuclear chemicals, insecticide, road paving, lighter fluid, paint thinner and nail polish remover. Eww, smoking will ruin your insides like your heart and lungs.
On animal adoption:
• I lived in Milwaukee and there was a dog in pain in my yard. I got my mom, and we took the animal to the vet to see what was wrong with her. The dog was having babies, and we kept the mom and a puppy. We named the mom Jada and the puppy Star. ... I believe that saving animals should be a law and people should stop killing or hurting animals.
On saving endangered animals:
• We could do this by cutting down on deforestation and stopping sport (trophy) hunting. ... My third and final reason why we should save the animals is because if one animal goes extinct, or even is endangered, the food chain is highly affected. ... I strongly urge you to work harder to save the endangered animals.
• If you have any gift cards you get from any restaurant or grocery store chains, you could give them to the homeless. This way you are giving the homeless person a chance to eat and get out of the cold and rest inside a store or a restaurant. ... According to the Charities Aid Foundation, when people donate they feel happier than before; research shows that out of 700 people who donate, 42 percent of them feel happier when they donate as a key influence.
• The things that you can do at food drives for people are label cans, package food and make food bags for kids to have over the weekend. Some other things that you can do are make tie blankets to keep people warm or care packages for people that are homeless. ... (Another) thing that you can do is donate clothes for people who don’t have many clothes.
On child abuse:
• Fourteen percent of all men and 36 percent of all women in prison were abused as children. ... Military children can be even more at risk for child abuse and neglect than others because of the stressors their parents are facing. ... I strongly urge you to help step up to child abuse.
On air pollution/global warming:
• Human activities such as burning fossil fuels and destroying forests have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This has increased the greenhouse effect, and average temperatures across the globe are rising. The decade that began in the year 2000 was the warmest on record. ... Please help stop air pollution, so it will not be a problem for future generations.
• The climate is heating up, winter is coming later and spring is earlier. This can affect polar bears because ice is disappearing before they get a chance to get to land. Polar bears may be able to swim, but they can’t swim for very long. If they are stuck on ice without food, the population of polar bears could drop down and they might be extinct.
• I strongly believe we should stop littering because it can cause water pollution, cause animals to die and destroy our environment. ... In conclusion, I strongly believe littering should be banned from the United States. People should owe five or less days of cleaning up or face imprisonment.
David Perez Ocotl
On animal testing/abuse:
• Scientists in laboratories think it is OK to test on kittens because they think that they’re just kittens and that they’re not as special as a human. A life is a life, and one doesn’t have less value than a human’s. It’s almost like testing on a human when you’re testing on a kitten.
• Did you know that children who witness abuse of people or animals become desensitized to it and see it as normal behavior? According to psychologist Eleonora Gullone, studies show that “childhood animal abuse increases in families where there is also domestic violence.” So, basically children who are consistently cruel to animals as kids do not grow out of it, and continue to abuse others as adults.