The Question

Some people think that the government should use extra money to fund programs to improve the environment.  Others think that it is better for the government to spend money to support artistic programs.  Which option do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

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The Sample Essay

             In today’s turbulent society, it is difficult for us to determine the best way to help the world.  In my opinion, spending money to help protect the environment is more important than donating to the arts.  I feel this way for two reasons, which I will explore in the following essay.

           To begin with, environmental problems are a more urgent concern than issues surrounding the arts.  While we are certainly living in a society where the arts are severely underfunded, the environment is a matter of life and death for many people.  The consequences of environmental degradation not only hit close to home, but also affect human beings all over the planet. For example, I recently read a report in a major newspaper which pointed out that within three decades certain countries in South Asia will suffer from catastrophic flooding as a result of global warming.  One country that was mentioned was Bangladesh, which just happens to be the poorest nation in the region. Public officials are trying to deal with the issue, but because of the poverty in that country they are wholly unable to do so. This means that nations in the developed world need to fund programs that will help them deal with the looming crisis.

         Secondly, it is possible for artistic and cultural programs to be privately funded.  Many businesses and individuals are willing to donate to artists in exchange for promotional considerations.  Not only that, but the Internet has made it possible for artists to fund their work through online “crowdfunding” promoted through social networking sites.  For instance, there is a community theater group in my hometown which recently lost a significant portion of its public funding following recent budget cuts by the municipal government.  While the situation looked dire at first, the group was able to attract financial support from companies who wanted to have their logo displayed on theater programs and in the lobby of their building.  In addition, the company used the Internet to raise money from individual donors who were happy to help their favorite theater group. These examples demonstrate some of the methods that artists can use to attract funding to replace government support in times of economic trouble.  The amounts of money needed to solve environmental problems, in contrast, cannot be raised using such methods.

          In conclusion, I feel that if the government is forced to make a choice, it should choose to fund environmental programs rather than the arts. I feel this way because environmental problems are a more critical concern, and because the arts can often be privately funded. (431 words)


This is a sample TOEFL independent essay written by a TOEFL expert.  It follows our TOEFL writing templates  for independent essays.  If it is useful, please remember that we have many more sample essays for you to read!



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