Extinction In David Quammen's 'Planet Of Weeds'

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The wealthy shape environmental policies, controlling industrial and agricultural output and land usage, just to name a few. A mass extinction cannot be prevented without persuading those with wealth. However, David Quammen’s Harper’s Weekly article “Planet of Weeds” views the wealthy not as drivers of change, but as fugitives from the Earth’s harsh environment that the wealthy themselves had created. The text effectively argues that a mass extinction is a possibility and even a reality by employing ethos, logos and pathos to logically and emotionally appeal to its audience. Yet, the text stops short of calling for an action, because such action will be impotent and unlikely to be favored by the wealthy when they will not face much consequences. As said earlier, the text does make a very good case that the mass extinction is happening. Persuading anyone to care about the environment was a harder feat to accomplish in 1998, but Quammen has successfully done so through employing ethos, logos and pathos. The text utilizes logos through heavy use of lists and statistics. For example, from listing “causal factors that account for most extinctions” (60) to all the “semi-wild” places Quammen has visited for “dilettantish excursions” (67), the text often…show more content…
For instance, the text’s portrayal of the debate between Myers and Simon rebuts the notion that a human ingenuity can stem the extinction. It’s hard for the audience to believe in Simon’s bullish claim “that human resourcefulness would solve all problems worth solving” when the text later calls Simon’s argument as a “worst disservice to logic” and “pooh-poohing the concern over extinction” (60). As said earlier, Simon is also an economist debating against a scientist on the issue of extinction. The framing of the Simon’s argument makes the readers side against Simon and the notion that human is able to save the
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