Everyone talks about climate change and how the Earth is slowly deteriorating, but no one seems to have specific examples. In Linnea Saukko’s “How to Poison the Earth,” she does use specific examples of what is causing climate change. She uses satire with a hint of sarcasm in her essay. She gives the reader specific examples of how to poison the Earth, but not really wanting to poison the Earth. Gretel Ehrlich writes her essay, “Chronicles of Ice,” a little differently. She uses personal experiences of visiting a glacier and the way that it is falling apart to explain climate change.
She uses detailed, sensory description to explain what is happening to the glaciers that are so important to us. However, in Atul Gawande’s essay, “The Cancer Cluster Myth,” he uses a different approach. He uses the physical health of the people in our nation to draw the attention of the reader to the subject, however he does not get very specific with how exactly climate change is affecting us. Saukko’s essay had more of an initial impact when reading it. She did very well at explaining exactly what is causing climate change and how it affects us. On a personal level, Saukko hit the deepest.
She made me realize what our Earth is actually going through and how not only as individuals, but as the world as a whole, we are slowly killing our earth. In Saukko’s writing, she gives specific examples of how to poison the earth, without really wanting to poison the earth, but rather to inform her audience. She does this very well because she gives specific examples of how to do it. This helps us to understand what exactly is causing these problems in our environment. In her essay, she gives an example of the poison plutonium and how we should store it in deep parts of the earth.
Not only does she give the example of the poison, but she also tells us where it is stored. She also goes on to describe why it is bad; because of its half-life. The tone of her entire essay is very satirical and sarcastic, without being funny. Saukko really opened my eyes to the reality of what is happening on earth. I’ve always heard many people speak about the environment and how it is deteriorating, but I have never seen exactly why. This essay gave me great insight to the reality of it. Ehrlich on the other hand, has a very different approach to the way she talks about the issue.
She uses a lot of sensory images and personal experience. She mentally paints a picture for us to see what is happening. She uses very intriguing vocabulary to describe the massive glaciers. In her essay, she uses subtle personification to describe the way the ice stands. Ehrlich talks about the way people go to see the glaciers fall and fail, but they are not interested in the strength it takes for them to hold themselves together. She makes an interesting statement of how glaciers are historians and archivists of our world. She describes how they hold everything from dust, to pollen and even gasses.
This helps our world to look back and be able to see the way that the environment is changing over the years. She also makes a reference that the deterioration of the glaciers is a result of our “…smokestack and tailpipe society” (271). This seemed to be a harsh statement towards society as a whole. Without the new technologies, buildings, cars and everything that is grouped in with being considered a smokestack society, our world would not be anywhere near where it is today. In the last essay, “The Cancer Cluster Myth,” Gawande uses an entirely different approach to the issue.
He brings up the public health of people as a result of the declining environment. The majority of his essay is talking about how others have studied these cancer clusters around the world. When reading this essay, he comes off as being very intelligent and factual, but further into the essay, that perception becomes questionable. He uses his personal experience with them, but in a different way than Ehrlich. Gawande also starts to slightly contradict himself in his personal belief in cancer clusters. It didn’t seem to have a big personal effect on the way I see this issue on the environmental problems.
He writes a lot of what the cancer clusters are and the effect they have on the public, but he doesn’t bring up the main issue of what is causing them which also adds to the contradiction in this essay. Saukko, Ehrlich and Gawande each use different techniques to make their points. In both Gawande’s and Ehrlich’s essays, personal experiences are used. However, in Ehrlich’s essay, it is far more exaggerated in her descriptions of the glaciers; where-as Gawande just briefly touches down on the fact that he grew up in a cancer cluster.
Saukko doesn’t mention personal experience, but she more-so gives step by step instructions on how to poison the earth, which is far from what either of the other two authors did. All three essays taught me a little more about the environment. Saukko talked about how different chemicals are affecting us and how they are traveling through the earth. Ehrlich spoke about how glaciers are so vital to our environment both in keeping temperatures balanced as well as in history. Lastly, Gawande wrote about cancer clusters, which prior to reading this, I did not know existed.
All there of these authors do an extraordinary job of writing of this issue of the environmental decline. However the use of satire and sarcasm in Saukko’s essay is more direct in the way it is described. Although she uses satire, the essay is in no way humorous but rather it helps the reader to understand the importance of what is going on. Her essay is very informative. She was more effective in getting this idea into my head that we really need to do something about the rapid decline of the environment. She was very straight forward and honest in the way things were described and that is what made her essay stand out far and above the other two.
X. J. Kennedy, Dorothy M. Kennedy, and Jane E. Aaron, eds. The Brief Bedford Reader Ed 11. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012, 2006, 2003. Print. Saukko, Linnea . “How to Poison the Earth. ” Kennedy, Kennedy, and Aaron 264-268. Ehrlich, Gretel. “Chronicles of Ice. ” Kennedy, Kennedy, and Aaron 269-275. Gawande, Atul. “The Cancer Cluster Myth. ” Editorial. Web.