1.2 Interdisciplinary essays

1.2.2 Environmental systems and societies

Essays on ESS explore the effect of human societies on the natural world. For this type of essay, it is not enough to describe environmental problems and phenomena. Rather, you are expected to critically analyse and evaluate the relationship between nature and humans by exploring case studies or conducting experiments.

Sample research questions: 

  1. To what degree has the reintroduction of wolves in Colorado been successful for both its economy and ecosystems?
  2. How could a golf course be built to benefit the fauna and flora on the island of Crete? 
  3. To what degree does the silvopastoral system in Southern Colombia, as implemented by Nestlé, promote sustainable development?


  • Notice that each sample question focuses on a place or region. 
  • Most ESS essays explore the notion of sustainability.
  • Many ESS essays explore biology and geography as disciplines for acquiring knowledge.
  • Good ESS questions are evaluative and not descriptive.
Figure 1.2.2a - Sustainability
This is a common theme among good ESS essays.