TOEFL Daily Writing Topic: Which of the following events would cause the most harm to our planet?

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TOEFL Daily Writing Topic: Which of the following events would cause the most harm to our planet?

a) An eruption from a supervolcano.


b) Impact from an asteroid which is at least 10 km in diameter.

c) A full-scale nuclear exchange of weapons involving the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea.

Brainstorming Ideas

Refer to the following brainstorming ideas to get a better understanding of the answer.

Nuclear exchange is the most damaging because of the following reasons:

  • Immediate death toll
  • Subsequent radiation sickness
  • Cities and infrastructure destruction
  • Reduced growth of crops
  • Widespread famine and disease
  • Increased cancer rates and genetic mutations.

The rest of the things do have impacts none of these events possesses the human-initiated and self-destructive elements inherent in a nuclear exchange.

Q. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion. Do not use memorized examples.

Ans: This question is a complex one, as it involves evaluating the potential harm caused by three catastrophic events: a supervolcano eruption, an asteroid impact, and a full-scale nuclear exchange. But I believe that a full-scale nuclear exchange will be the most damaging.

The main reason for a full-scale nuclear exchange being the most damaging is the immediate and long-term human toll. The immediate death toll from the nuclear blasts and subsequent radiation sickness would likely be in the hundreds of millions if not billions. Cities and infrastructure will get destroyed and medical facilities will get overwhelmed. The survivors would face a world where the water and food supplies would be contaminated. The growth of crops will be reduced because of nuclear fallout and the “nuclear winter” effect. This would lead to widespread famine and diseases, which would further increase the death toll. The long-term effects of widespread radiation exposure are incalculable but can include increased cancer rates and genetic mutations spanning generations.

On the other hand, a supervolcano eruption would induce a temporary ‘Volcanic winter,’ resulting in global cooling and crop failures. However, these effects would likely last only a few years to a decade, after which recovery is expected. In contrast, the impact of an asteroid striking the Earth would cause immediate global devastation and have long-lasting effects. The recovery from such an impact would likely span thousands of years. Importantly, none of these events possess the human-initiated and self-destructive elements inherent in a nuclear exchange.

In conclusion, while all three events would cause immense harm to the planet, a full-scale nuclear exchange would be the most devastating due to its immediate human death toll, long-term environmental contamination and the uncertainty of recovery.

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