"Why Bother" by Michael Pollan: How To Change Your Life

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Overall, many people are stuck in between making a change and asking themselves, why bother? Pollan argues, in his article, that we should all try to make a difference in climate change by working independently. He uses the appeals of pathos, ethos, and logos in order to persuade his audience to go green. His use of ethos and logos was not successful and his use of pathos was good, but not good enough to make up for the other two appeals. With that being said, his article was not effective for the audience.

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Michael Pollan’s use of pathos was effective because he was able to appeal to his audience's emotions. This can be seen throughout the whole article because it seems like he was kind of poking at the reader’s emotions by calling them, in other words, conformists and dependent people: “For us to wait for legislation or technology to solve the problem of how we’re living suggests we’re not really serious about changing. Indeed, to look to leaders and experts to save us from our predicament… dependent for solutions on specialists”. Pollan is trying to push his audience to take a stand and do something themselves instead of waiting on others to solve a problem that everyone is facing. His bold and straightforward statement may cause a reader to feel personal, which may move them enough to reflect on themselves and do something about the situation. This shows that his use of pathos was successful.

However, Pollan’s use of Ethos was not as successful. Pollan’s overall argument in his article was that people had to contribute making small changes to decrease the problem of climate change. He did not introduce to his audience of why he/his opinion was credible, which may lead a reader to think that he is just another person expressing himself and his ideas. With that aside, his article could have been effective, had he only kept his ideas the same throughout the article, but he didn’t, “Going personally green is a bet, nothing more or less, though it’s one we probably all should make, even if the odds of it paying off aren’t great”. Yes, he is saying that the audience should make a change, but then states that the odds may be low even with the changes that one does. He does this several times and it just may confuse the reader on thinking if making changes is really worth it at the end. Causing confusion reduces his credibility for his audience, thus making his appeal to ethos ineffective.

“Why Bother?” Many ask themselves this question pretty often, perhaps even every day. In some situations people feel that there is no need to change their actions or do anything that could possibly help the issue. In “Why Bother?” by Michael Pollan, he talks about climate change and global warming. He makes the point that we all have the duty to help. He continuously discusses why it is important for people to make changes in their life that could possibly cause a difference in climate change or global warming. Throughout the article, Michael Pollan brought in the appeals of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Even though Pollan did not effectively use Ethos nor Logos, he managed to use Pathos effectively, capturing his audience’s emotions and feelings, both those for and against his ideas. This effective use of Pathos adds to his article, making up for his lack of effective Ethos and Logos. Thus, still making this article effective for its read.

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“Why Bother” by Michael Pollan: How To Change Your Life. (2022, August 19). WritingBros. Retrieved September 24, 2023, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/why-bother-by-michael-pollan-how-to-change-your-life/
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“Why Bother” by Michael Pollan: How To Change Your Life [Internet]. WritingBros. 2022 Aug 19 [cited 2023 Sept 24]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/why-bother-by-michael-pollan-how-to-change-your-life/
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