Good Rhetorical Analysis For WWF Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: World, Environment, Graffiti, City, Ethos, Elections, Environmental Issues, People

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/02/25

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has, at its disposal, the global ecosystem, which is the ecological unit the Fund may utilize in its campaigns. WWF’s limited resources and, sometimes, inadequate funds are the peak issues, along with the fact that people on the earth cannot stop the time. Nevertheless, the Fund is doing its best to focus on a handful of Global Initiatives. The image of endangered species - three polar bears - is made in the form of the graffiti as pure vandalism, the imagery associated with unruly youth in run-down, crime-ridden areas. The promt is that people’s destructive attitude towards the world ecosystem and bears, as in this case, is that of vandalism, and the grafiti symbolises both the endangered natural environment and the urban decay. The issues the Fund deals with tend to be emotive, with a strong potential for pathos, in considering the plight of such endangered species and, as a consequence, we may expect pathos to be at the fore of its campaigns. However, it is also heavily reliant upon the logos of rigorous scientific investigation, and the ethos of its own reputation, as a global organization, which has proved itself through decades of campaigning, having the support of members of the scientific community, and access to governments around the world anxious not to see their image tarnished by the organization's condemnation.
In the particular instance under scrutiny, the focus is on the endangerment of the polar bear. The primary focus is upon a photograph. Captioned with “What will it take before we respect the planet?” the photograph, an element within an international campaign, shows three bears in a simple landscape of a pale blue sky and white snow. The only color in the image takes the form of graffiti, daubed upon two of the bears. Graffiti has a mixed reputation as an art form, with both supporters and those who would condemn it as mere vandalism. As such, this may seem a strange choice of imagery. However, the graffiti with which the animals are daubed, is basic, lacking in artistry, and an illegible mess. This is not an example of the graffiti as art, but the graffiti as pure vandalism, the imagery associated with unruly youth in run-down, crime-ridden areas of any and every city across the world. Looking at the graffiti, we see the work of, at best, a thoughtless, at worst, a destructive attitude. The polar bears, then, have been vandalized.
The image evokes the sense of deprivation and decay, through a familiar motif with global associations. By placing such a strong symbol as this into the natural environment – moreover, daubing it onto the animals living in that environment, which are endangered by the situation that environment is in – the home of the bears becomes an extension of the urban decay. Just as we should decry the poverty of such an environment, when inhabited by people, so, too, when inhabited by magnificent animals, reduced by living in a parallel environment in the wild. Clearly, global warming is the greatest concern here, and again the parallel is obvious in its associativity with cities' air pollution which is, after all, the source of the greenhouse gases that threaten the bears' habitat. Through these associativities, then, a strong resonance is set up, not merely with a fanciful analogy, but with the very cause of the issue the WWF is highlighting. The aim of the campaign is to encourage people to donate to a campaign to help preserve that habitat and to highlight the situation the bears are in, as a result of our carelessness. Through the familiar imagery, the connection is made between their peril and our own activities, as dwellers in an urban environment, perhaps, thousands of miles away from them. This is intended to evoke not only our sympathy, but also our sense of our own responsibility in providing donations for the campaign.
The audience for the campaign, then, may be anyone familiar with the urban environment – it is difficult, after all, not to be familiar with such an environment and to be unfamiliar with the associativity, between the graffiti and the urban decay, – and it is city dwellers, in particular, who are directly or indirectly responsible for the pollution in the atmosphere that leads to global warming. Not only are urban dwellers the most lucrative source of funding, they are also the people, who really should be the most shamed into clearing up the mess they themselves have helped to create. Thus, the circle is complete, through the use of the graffiti as a motif. It is in this appeal to ethos, that the caption, “What will it take before we respect the planet?” emphasizes the sense of universal responsibility. This is about us. People. The human beings. This is not a natural catastrophe, nor can we blame big businesses, or the government. It is our activities that are doing the damage. It is we, as ordinary people, who are failing to respect the planet. On another level, the use of 'we' may seem a little strange, insofar as it clashes with the ethos of the WWF itself. It is, after all, based upon the reputation the WWF has as championing the protection of the planet against the human abuses of the environment. This would also seem to be more subtle. Firstly, there is the issue of using 'you'. To say “What will it take before you respect the planet?” would be provocative and play against the pathos, losing sympathy. By using 'we', the subtlety lies in the idea of redemption. The ethos of the WWF is being protective of the environment. By being coupled with them, we may share in that ethos through making a donation, ourselves becoming protectors of the habitat that is being so vandalized. This is a subtle choice of words, but a powerful one.
Turning to the question of the third bear without graffiti, this may be seen as a symbol of hope. There is purity still out there, all is not lost. One of these animals, at least, may be saved from the vandalism and live a good life, provided it has the care and assistance to do so. It is also notable that this animal is behind the other two, as if being protected by them. This sense of protection – a protection in which the audience may share – is a useful additional motif. Moreover, the ice and the sky are clear and unblemished. Again, to have made the picture too unpleasant, with too much degradation, would have made the image too bleak, apparently beyond redemption. Hope, then, is necessary. No one will donate to a hopeless cause, after all. Overall, the body language of all three bears is far from strong. Polar bears are powerful animals, but that does not evoke the response the WWF is seeking. They must be seen to be weak, tired, and in need of our assistance. In this, pathos and logos combine, the fact of the polar bears' vulnerability to our activities being emphasized.
Logos, however, is implicit and understated in the image and in its presentation, taking very much a back seat to the pathos of the image and the ethos of the WWF itself. The plight of polar bears, the fact of global warming, and the threat to the ice caps is widely known. Consequently, these things do not need to be shouted. It would lessen the impact of the image were it to be daubed with, say, facts and figures about how much the ice caps are receding every year, or how many millions of tons of carbon dioxide have entered the atmosphere, thanks to the activities of the man. Logos would detract from the instantaneous nature of the image itself. What few words the image is permitted in its caption, are very understated, the words small on the image, serving as a mere footnote, the font plain, the text black. Indeed, it is as simple and as understated, as it is possible without, actually, becoming unreadable. Nonetheless it is there and, given the plain background of ice, it is noticeable.
In conclusion, this particular element of the WWF campaign is heavily reliant upon pathos and associativity with the lives and environment of its target audience. It presents a familiar image of deprivation, thereby, bringing the plight of the polar bears – quite literally – home to potential donors and sponsors, that home being what is, after all, responsible for the danger the animals face in the destruction of their environment. Vandalism becomes a metaphor for the destruction being wrought upon that habitat. The ethos is implicit in the reputation of the WWF itself, as the body sponsoring the image and appealing for funds, its reputation being strong and widely-known. Logos is superfluous. The target audience will be well aware of the threat of global warming to the ice caps, and so this needs no further elucidation that would only serve to detract from the ethos of the method being utilized in this instance.

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