Hannah BainesImagery: The author uses imagery to emphasize the idea that pollution is killing off wildlife in an intense and painful manner. This further intrigues the audience and convinces a sense of empathy towards the many species of the world.
11 AP Period 5
Current Event Week 6
Global IssueDiction: The audience is swayed by the words “agony” and “bleeding profusely”, causing them to once again feel terrible for unknowingly causing harm to wildlife. The diction emphasizes just how dangerous and life threatening pollution is toward the ocean and its inhabitants.
Pathos: The author utilizes pathos primarily to provoke a sense of sympathy from the audience. They may begin to feel saddened by the lack of care and the harm they’ve created for these animals.
“For Animals, Plastic Is Turning the Ocean into a Minefield”
On a boat off Costa Rica, a biologist uses pliers from a Swiss army knife to try to extract a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nostril. The turtle writhes in agony, bleeding profusely. For eight painful minutes the YouTube video ticks on; it has logged more than 20 million views, even though it’s so hard to watch. At the end the increasingly desperate biologists finally manage to dislodge a four-inch-long straw from the creature’s nose.
Raw scenes like this, which lay bare the toll of plastic on wildlife, have become familiar: The dead albatross, its stomach bursting with refuse. The turtle stuck in a six-pack ring, its shell warped from years of straining against the tough plastic. The seal snared in a discarded fishing net.Personification: The use of personification emphasizes both the impact of pollution, as well as its silent attacks. This stresses that pollution has become more powerful than humanity has given credit for, which the author conveys.
But most of the time, the harm is stealthier. Flesh-footed shearwaters, large, sooty brown seabirds that nest on islands off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand, eat more plastic as a proportion of their body mass than any other marine animal, researchers say: In one large population, 90 percent of the fledglings had already ingested some. A plastic shard piercing an intestine can kill a bird quickly. But typically the consumption of plastic just leads to chronic, unrelenting hunger.Logos: The logos presented emphasizes the overwhelming amounts of birds effected by pollution. Whilst birds are not the only animals effected, the statistic is critical in understanding how harmful pollution truly is. Further, the endless amounts of species continuously being added to the list of animals being threatened also stresses that there are approximately 700 species are suffering because of unnecessary human actions.
Ethos: The author proves to be credible due to her extensive research of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as her choice of sources that have extended degrees in their field.
“The really sad thing about this is that they’re eating plastic thinking it’s food,” says Matthew Savoca, a marine biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Imagine you ate lunch and then just felt weak and lethargic and hungry all day. That would be very confusing.” Fish such as anchovies, Savoca has found, eat plastic because it smells like food once it’s covered with algae. Seabirds, expending energy their malnourished bodies don’t have, roam farther in search of real food, only to drag back plastic waste to feed their young.
What makes plastic useful for people—its durability and light weight—increases the threat to animals. Plastic hangs around a long time, and a lot of it floats. “Single-use plastics are the worst. Period. Bar none,” Savoca says, referring to straws, water bottles, and plastic bags. Some 700 species of marine animals have been reported—so far—to have eaten or become entangled in plastic.Colloquial Language: The utilization of colloquial language enables the audience to connect with the author. The informality of the language juxtaposes the once formal and factual context from the previous paragraphs. It also presents the authors serious tone in her closing remarks.
We don’t fully understand plastic’s long-term impact on wildlife (nor its impact on us). We haven’t been using the stuff for very long. The first documented cases of seabirds ingesting plastic were 74 Laysan albatross chicks found on a Pacific atoll in 1966, when plastic production was roughly a twentieth of what it is today. In hindsight, those birds seem like the proverbial canaries in a coal mine.Metaphor: The metaphor utilized by the author originates from the times when coal miners would carry canaries to detect dangerous levels of gasses in mine. With this in mind, the concept of pollution is similar to this in the sense that animals are receiving the effects of pollution before the humans are.
In the article, “For Animals, Plastic Is Turning the Ocean into a Minefield”, author Natasha Daly stresses the vitality of awareness about the increase of pollution in the ocean and its further effects on the surrounding wildlife through the usage of sympathetic pathos and didactic metaphor, emphasizing that pollution may be a silent killer, but it is just as deadly as ever. Whilst Daly describes the intensity of a situation in Costa Rica containing a turtle caught up in a web of pollution, she paints a dreadful picture of the turtle in pursuit of a painful escape, “On a boat off Costa Rica, a biologist uses pliers from a Swiss army knife to try to extract a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nostril. The turtle writhes in agony, bleeding profusely,” (Daly). She emphasizes the concept that pollution is killing off wildlife in a heartbreaking and harrowing manner, all due to unnecessary human actions. Additionally, it intrigues and provokes a sense of empathy towards the many species of the world that are becoming victim to the endless cycle of pollution. The audience is swayed by the words “agony” and “bleeding profusely”, causing them to once again feel terrible for unknowingly (maybe even possibly knowingly) causing harm to wildlife. The diction embedded into the imagery underlines just how dangerous and life threatening pollution is toward the ocean and its inhabitants. Thus, presenting pollution as a topic that must be solved in a timely manner since these harsh situations are becoming a common reality. Concluding the article, Daly relies heavily on the pedagogic metaphor that highlights the entirety of the situation relating to ocean contamination. She references a commonly used statement from coal miners, “those birds seem like the proverbial canaries in a coal mine,” (Daly). A canary in a coal mine is typically defined as an advanced warning of danger. This metaphor also carries the meaning relating to when coal miners would carry canaries to detect dangerous levels of the poisonous carbon monoxide; if there were any harmful gasses, the canary would die before the gas reached the miners. With this in mind, the metaphor parallels that of pollution- the oceanic wildlife are dying from pollution, whilst the humans get to survive. Further, the animals dying is also a warning of danger as previously stated. Relating to the planet as a whole, pollution is a factor that is consuming the not only the ocean, but the land as well. It is imperative that humanity catches a hold of this plague, before humans become the canaries in the coal mine. Pollution may be known as the “silent killer”, but it is now an issue that must be heard. Purpose: The purpose of this article is to advise humans that their actions have an adverse effect on their surroundings, and especially lives of animals. The author attempts to convince the audience that pollution is a real problem that requires attention immediately, before it’s too late.
Speaker: Natasha Daly’s expertise lies as an editor and writer for National Geographic magazine, where she writes about animal welfare and wildlife exploitation.
Occasion: Daly composed this article to enhance the brutal effects of pollution to not only wildlife, but its grasp on humanity.
Audience: The audience is comprised and directed towards all of humanity, especially those who abuse plastic, which have the biggest impact of slaughtering the environment and its wildlife.
Tone: The tone of this article is clearly didactic and ardent. The author stresses just how important it is to pay attention to pollution, as it is slowly but surely taking over our oceans, our wildlife, and before humanity knows it, humans as well.
Cancalosi, John, and Natasha Daly. “For Animals, Plastic Is Turning the Ocean into Minefield.” National Geographic, National Geographic, 16 May 2018.