In “ Everybody’s Guilty – The Ecological Dilemma, “ author and professor of Human Ecology at University of California, Santa Barbara, Garrett Hardin, explains the current issue with invisible reverberations. Hardin calls attention to the readers about how innocent actions by individuals can inflict on the environment. “ We all acquiesce in the system of arrangements and practices that has created our ecological crisis” (Hardin, 40). In order to approve of our actions, individuals tend to hide from reality behind symbols and/or words. Incorporating rhetoric into our everyday lives does this.
Garrett Hardin begins his argument by explaining the naming process that may have unintended consequences and then finishes with potentially solutions to this ecological crisis. For example, using the word “healthy” attracts an audience that is ultimately looking to eat correctly. Without looking at the ingredients, people believe the false advertisement and buy the food that says “healthy” on the box rather than what is actually good for them. By doing this, consumers are using an unethical form of persuasion while not being aware of the consequences or changes this action may have on people.
Hardin wants the readers to view our world not as a society, but “as an ecological system” (Hardin, 40). Instead of acting as a whole, people need to understand that as individuals, everyone needs to play their part to improve the world we live on. Hardin suggests, “we [as individuals] can never do merely one thing” (Hardin, 41). The choices that are made everyday can have an impact on something a lot larger than what was intended. In the article, “Everybody’s Guilty”, Hardin uses the example of damming the Nile at Aswan.
By building this dam, workers not only secured a water source for electricity and irrigation, which was their only intention, but they also caused deep distress to Egypt. This proves Hardin’s argument. Although the thought of a dependable water source is efficient, many times the consequences are overseen. Egypt now is suffering from periodic floods, which is slowly eliminating the nutrients within the water. To bring this example into an easier perspective, lets look at what average people do everyday such as pumping gas.
Individuals unconsciously pump their gas with the only intention to be able to get from one place to another. Everyone knows the amount of consequences that may arise from this certain action, but no one really pays attention. The amount of pollution that is created from pumping gas is at alarming rates and is slowly taking a toll on the atmosphere. Transportation is the largest single source of air pollution in the United States. This includes air pollution emitted during vehicle operation, refueling, and manufacturing.
These simple actions cause over a third of the contaminated chemicals in the air, and all people are worried about is if they will make it to work on time. With both the amount of cars on the road, and the escalating population rates, Hardin is trying to persuade readers that people need to take action and by persuading the audience, Hardin is engaging in a form of rhetoric. “Pollution will not be controlled unless population is controlled” (Hardin, 44). “Even what we call ‘success’ may prove to be a bitter failure.
Increasing the size of the population is generally held to be a good thing, but an even larger proportion of the world’s people is becoming convinced that the world is already overpopulated” (Hardin, 42). Increasing the population not only limits resources, it also increases the amount of misunderstanding to people “never do[ing] one thing”, which can potentially lead to a larger ecological crisis. There are many problems when it comes to population. Technology is expensive and with population growing, the price of natural resources is increasing as well.
There are solutions to this issue though, but cannot be implemented right away. Hardin looks “toward voluntarism and persuasion to help create a climate of opinion that can some day support stronger measures” (Hardin, 45). By “doing the right thing”, Hardin rhetorically persuades the readers to engage in thoughtful actions that decreases the population. The first step to this solution is to create a 100% effective birth control. Society knows that contraception is not completely effective, but because of this, Hardin suggests we create a system for acceptability towards abortions if necessary.
If birth control fails, abortions should be included as a “back up plan” with the cost of being preferably free. The problem with this proposal is that abortions are frowned upon in other countries. To avoid the abortion issue, young girls need to be taught to become independent and goal oriented instead of becoming a teenage mother. Now-a-days girls are so interested in creating their own little families and having children that they tend to forget the hardships of having child. We need to educate all of society so as to reduce this social pressure, and consequently reduce the number of semi-reluctant mothers, who are probably not the best ones to raise children anyway” (Hardin, 46).
Having a child when the woman is a child herself is not healthy, but is a prime example to Hardin’s argument. By creating children for the wrong reasons relates to creating an invisible reverberations. At the time it sounds great to have a child, but the aftermath consequences do not balance out. As a society, individuals need to create a culture of acceptability to smaller families.
The world is slowly becoming more accustomed to this new culture, but still needs improvement. Garrett Hardin wants to leave his readers with a prolonged thought to help the world. He enriches his readers with evidence that support his idea of having an ecological crisis. Hardin explains that everyone is at fault when it comes to harming the world, but there are ways to solve this conflict and that is population control. Although the solution may not be easy, Hardin wants people to understand the consequences of their actions, because until then, the ecological crisis is going to continue to increase.
Courtney from Study Moose
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