Peer Activity: Letter to the editor (60 mins)

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Think of an important environmental health action that could be best promoted through the targeted medium of letters published in newspapers or professional journals. For example, you might want to block the construction of a coal-fired power plant in your area, so you might write a letter to the editor at a local newspaper, explaining the problems with asthma that one might expect to see as a consequence and calling on people to rally against construction of the power plant. Or you could publish an open letter in the newspaper to public officials, asking them for better city planning to encourage more walkability and public transportation. Or perhaps you want to write a letter to a professional journal calling on your colleagues to support a ban on the import, export, and use of asbestos.

You can either write this letter on your own, or with one co-signing mentor or peer (either a NextGenU peer, or another peer of your choosing). Follow the instructions given by the publisher (e.g., # of words, images, other special restrictions), and draft your letter. Next, this should be shared with your three automatically chosen NextGenU peers, who will give you feedback online. Each peer will assess whether all three criteria are fulfilled (and if not, they’ll explain why), and will be encouraged to provide comments on your letter. You should revise your letter as often as you and your peers feel is necessary to pass these criteria. When all four of you agree that you have passed all the criteria, we strongly encourage you to submit the letter, and to allow us to make your words available to anyone to access (either with authorship and peer review attribution, or anonymously).

You do not need to complete this activity before you move on to the next module. Please feel free to continue into the next learning resources and begin studying them, as we recognize that some peer reviewers may take longer than others (but please remember in your peer reviewer role, that there are people waiting for you!). You will need to have completed all peer and mentored activities before NextGenU and our partners (International Society of Doctors for the EnvironmentPhysicians for Social ResponsibilitySimon Fraser University's Faculty of Health Sciences) can give you a certificate for this course.

We estimate that this exercise should take you approximately 1-3 hours. Please let us know HERE afterwards how long it actually took you so we may refine this estimate.