Since July 2019, Australia has been battling the worst wildfires ever experienced in the region. These wildfires have caused extreme damage to the forests and the environment in the country. Thousands of homes have been damaged and destroyed, and an unknown number of wild animals killed. In this paper, two articles are reviewed to identify the various rhetorical features used by the authors to ensure that the audience understands how the Australian fire disaster affects the Australian continent and the world in general. Both Simke (2020) and Tarabay (2020) attempt to explain the extent of the wildfire disaster and its effect on the continent and the world. While both authors present evidence and facts to support their claims, Tarabay (2020) presents a more convincing argument using logical, visual, and scientific evidence to move the audience.
Rhetoric Feature #1: Ethos
Simke (2020) uses vocabulary and terms that are relevant to the topic of discussion, wildfire disaster. The author uses terms such as relentless burning, charred animal feet, damage to ecosystems, ocean levels, marine biodiversity, ocean acidity, marine animals, and climate change. She also explains the connection between the ocean and the wildfire using scientific and disaster management terms. She captures the attention of the audience by using terms that resonate with them and that paint a picture of devastating destruction in their minds.
Tarabay (2020) uses vocabulary and terms that are captivating and thought-proving to attract the attention of his audience. The author begins with “…lightning struck brittle earth…the remains of trees bone dry from consecutive winters with little to no rain were ignited, and the fire quickly spread.” The audience is left eager to read what the outcome of the fire was and how the situation proceeded. The author also speaks about other related wildfire disasters that people are aware of, such as the California fires and the Black Saturday bushfires. This way, he is shows the audience that he completely understands the topic and has facts to support his claims.
Both Simke (2020) and Tarabay (202are able to show their audience that they are worth listening to and that they understand what they are talking about. By using relevant terminology and vocabulary, the authors inform the audience that they have a deep understanding of the topic under discussion and that they have the credibility to discuss the topic. Tarabay (2020) is more effective in capturing the attention of his audience through the use of captivating and thought-proving statements throughout his article. He also refers to related disasters, which shows the audience that he has a firm grasp of the topic being discussed.
Rhetoric Feature #2: Logos
Simke (2020) uses facts and statistics as a way of convincing her audience of the extensive damage that the fires have caused to the ocean ecosystem. She uses the logic that in the real world nothing occurs in isolation, she refers to scientific research on the causes of the wildfires and explains the impact of carbon emissions from the wildfire on the ocean using scientific research facts. She appeals to the audience using logical arguments. For instance, she argues that since marine animals that depend of calcium-derived shells are negatively affected by highly acidic environments, the wildfires continue releasing carbon dioxide into the air, and the ocean is one of the largest absorbers of atmospheric carbon dioxide, then the increased carbon dioxide in the air, from the wildfire, will increase the acidity of the ocean and affect the marine animals negatively.
Tarabay (2020) uses facts and concrete figures in his description of the extent of the damage. He quotes figures obtained from reputable sources, such as the director of the Center for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales and NASA. The author uses facts and figures from research by NASA to illustrate the huge impact that the wildfires in the Australian continent have had on the continent and other areas of the world. He provides facts on the number of people affected by past fire disasters in the region and an expert approximation of the quantity of carbon emissions released by the wildfire.
Both authors use facts and statistics to convince the audience. They mention factual figures and statistics obtained through research to show the audience that they are using logic in their arguments. Simke (2020) uses logical arguments in her article, making logical connections between various issues. By quoting reputable sources, Tarabay (2020) ascertains his credibility to the audience and captures their full attention by quantifying the extent of the damage that the Australian wildfire disaster has caused. He uses figures and facts obtained from sources that are credible to prove logic in his arguments. Both authors effectively use the logos rhetoric feature to appeal to the audience.
Rhetoric Feature #3: Pathos
Simke (2020) uses emotional appeal in her article. She begins with an explanation of how koalas in Australia are suffering from burns and the destruction of their natural habitat. She explains in detail the burns that animals such as koalas and marsupials have suffered from the wildfire, painting a mental picture of the situation in the country. This way, she ensures that the audience feels pity and sympathy for the animals and the people whose homes have been destroyed by the wildfire in the region.
Tarabay (2020) also uses emotional appeal in his article to capture the attention of the audience and evoke emotions in them. At the beginning of the article, the author shows an image of a man holding a water hose trying to protect his property from the fire. The image shows a building on fire just right next to the man’s property. Throughout the article, the author shows images of the immense destruction that the wildfire has caused to the forests and buildings. He even shows a picture of a malnourished animal walking in a forest that has been burned down. These images are very graphic in terms of how the audience views the effects of the disaster. The author appeals to the audience and shows that the situation in Australia is dire.
Both authors use emotional appeal in their arguments to capture the attention of their audience. Simke (2020) gives a detailed explanation of the negative effect that the wildfire has caused on wild animals and the effects that it will have on marine animals. Tarabay (2020) provides vivid images that show the destruction caused by the wildfire. These images are more effective is appealing to the audience that the situation is dire and needs attention.
From the analysis of the two articles on the impact of the Australian wildfires on the continent and the world, it is clear that both authors used the three rhetoric features used to appeal to the audience. However, while both authors present evidence and facts to support their claims, Tarabay (2020) presents a more convincing argument using logical, visual, and scientific evidence to move the audience. However, further research needs to be conducted to determine the actual effect that the wildfires will have on the ocean and the global climate since no recent actual scientific investigation has been conducted to provide concrete figures of the damage caused to the ocean and the global climate.