Pathos melts.

I melt your heart.



What will it take to make the world believe that our globe is melting? Some take the scientific route, incorporating the rhetorical devices of logos and ethos, something along the lines of “Scientists X, Y, and Z from prestigious research university A discovered that the temperature on the globe has risen C amount in just D units of time”, and then this data is represented in a graph where there is a distinct positive correlation; as time has gone by, the global temperature is without doubt increasing.

However, there are still skeptics who do not believe it…or just don’t want to believe it.

Maybe, then, the other rhetorical device can help: pathos.

WWF, an organization fighting for the lives of endangered species and the conservation of our environment says it clearly: our world is melting. We see the image of an ice cream cone, and the “flavor” of ice cream is the earth. With a black background, the attention is all focused on this ice cream cone, and it speaks an argument, a pathos argument. By linking a large issue of global climate change to a loved dessert universal to all cultures and all different countries, this image connects each citizen to this global issue in a sentimental way. Ice cream is (mostly) enjoyed cold and solid. It is connected to hot summer days, lovingly enjoyed with a friend, a significant other, family, or just by oneself. Regardless, this ice cream provides comfort and smiles. It’s not eaten when in the form of a drippy messy, and therefore, not as enjoyable to eat and really, not as delicious. Similarly, the world is not as “delicious” dripping and sticky, and thus, just like ice cream, we need to keep the world just the right temperature in order to conserve its shape. Observing ice cream melting reminds us the degradation of fun memories, good friends, and the melting away of those days where we just enjoyed our lives.  We lose a part of that happiness. We lose a part of that happiness watching the world melt away. By using such a global dessert and the image of the earth, everyone over the world can relate to it, be touched by it, and want to change the way we treat the environment. That is exactly what this warning is attempting to convey. So while graphs and data may speak loudly about the danger in global climate change, sometimes a pathos argument can provide a nice kick to it.

Put the world back into the refrigerator or our goods times will melt away fast.

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2 Responses to Pathos melts.

  1. Matt Swatski says:

    In all seriousness, I want ice cream now. Maybe a cute slogan could be, “We don’t want our dessert to become a desert do we?” This is more effective than any pictures of icebergs crashing into the ocean or polar bears sailing across the sea. I am pretty much panicked now; that ice cream planet is melting! Maybe they could make this poster more effective by adding a number to call or a slogan to encourage engagement. The poster is meant to “slap” people into action, and its difficult for them to become involved if they don’t know how.

  2. Amy Ketcham says:

    I like how you analyzed this picture Sarah. It’s really thought-provoking to imagine our our world in terms of something so familiar and sentimental: ice cream. The fact that we do not like eating ice cream when it is a sticky mess is so true. This image also leads to the idea that melting ice cream eventually goes away. Therefore, our world may melt away with our homes, our memories, our families, and our favorite animals too. I interpreted the light coming from the world as also a kind of hope too. The world does not have to melt, if we stop it from doing so.

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