The world is in urgent need of saving with all the internal violence, depletion of natural resources, threat of nuclear war, global warming, and pollution within the oceans, which all constantly threaten to wipe life off the face of the earth. A new possible contributor to that list are the emission of gases that result from raising meat for consumption. In Englehart and Kohler’s article, “Save The Planet Stop Eating Meat” they discuss the movement to reduce the amount of global consumption of meat in order to reduce the number of greenhouses which are created as a side effect of that industry. They additional recognize that opposition exists to this movement and offer opposing opinions, primarily from the meat industry. Englehart and Kohler attempted to convey their point through a large number of concrete facts, the use of names such as Paul McCartney, and the open admittance of other sides to the issue, which ultimately creates a seemingly unbiased push for an issue which could be close to their hearts.
Through their arguments the writers utilize all three rhetorical devices, logos, pathos, and ethos, in order to make a point which does not appear too overbearing. The most obvious element, logos, carries the article through the appearance of numerous facts and statistics from reputable sources. For example, they authors mention that eighteen percent of world greenhouse gases and fifty-percent of world emissions originate from livestock production (Englehart & Kohler, 2010). While not the first point made in the paper, these figures demonstrate a concrete piece of evidence from reputable sources. Such evidence solidifies the argument for vegetarianism as an actual issue and not the ramblings of hippies. The authors further advance their cause by connecting to the common people through celebrity name dropping as well as ways in which common people can contribute. Among the list of named people are Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin, Simon Cowell, Al Gore and Gwyneth Paltrow (Englehart & Kohler, 2010). Such celebrities span the entirety of popular culture, which guarantees that readers will be able to recognize one name supporting the cause. Englehart and Kohler go a step further by offering ways in which the common person can participate in this movement. In addition to the Meatless Mondays mentioned in the first few paragraphs, the authors also give credit to flexitarian, or the occasional eating of meat by those who consider themselves vegetarians (Englehart & Kohler, 2010). Such a mention validates those people who wish to do something, but feel as if they do not have the will power to commit all the way to a radical diet. Finally, the authors increase their credibility, or ethos, by recognizing briefly the potential arguments from those in the livestock industry. According to such sources, meat production makes up six percent of the United States economy (Englehart & Kohler, 2010). In the current economic climate, this figure offers a significant motivation to avoid a reduction in meat consumption. However, this argument is purely monetary and seems greedy when compared to the possible environmental effects of such a choice. Overall, the combination of these three elements creates an effective argument for vegetarianism.
The argument for vegetarianism or even the reduction of meat consumption seems valid in that it promotes the most good for comparatively little effort. As mentioned before, the process of meat production creates anywhere from 1.5 to 30 kilograms of carbon dioxide for each kilogram of meat and requires 10 kilograms of grain to produce a kilogram of meat (Englehart & Kohler, 2010). This input and output of materials demonstrates a wasteful system in order to create such a small amount of food. Even compared to the economic benefit, this system is problematic, especially considering that this system creates other costly situations later in time. Additionally, the proposed system offers a number of options that do not require becoming a strict vegan in order to participate. By simply not eating meat one day a week, a population the size of the city of Flanders can save an amount of carbon dioxide equal to half a million cars ( Englehart & Kohler, 2010). Such a change only requires a sacrifice for one day. If people wish to do more, then they could choose to become flexitarians, vegetarians, or even vegans for greater benefit. This flexibility without judgment draws in more potential participation than strict vegetarianism, ultimately benefiting everyone.
Through their article, Englehart and Kohler offer a persuasive argument for vegetarianism in order to benefit the environment. They provided effective research, mentions of celebrity and political endorsements, and comprehensive reporting to has provide enough reasons to persuade the reader towards their cause for multiple reasons. The increase in meat consumption has dramatically increased the amounts of harmful gases emitted in the air which seeks to destroy the ozone layer. It is important to eat a healthy balance diet, and if eating less meat proves to be beneficial to both people and the planet then it seems like a good idea.
- Engelhart, K. & Köhler, N. (2010, March 30). Save the planet: Stop eating meat. Maclean’s. Retrieved from http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/03/30/save-the-planet-stop-eating-meat/2/