chapter  4
Environmental ethos
Pages 30

Environmental arguments are cultural arguments: culture is the sub­ ject and it is also the context. No-one wins a cultural argument by pure logic: to persuade one must appeal, be an appealing kind of per­ son, the right kind of character for the argument. The texts convey ideas, and they also create personae, rhetorical characters. So, having mapped the topics of environmental argument, we begin the explo­ ration of forms of argumentation with an ethos analysis. This kind of analysis represents the drama of voices as these environment words interact with the culture. In the drama, different personalities emerge, different textual personae associated with the key words. The words encourage typical attitudes, they bring their own colour­ ing to an argument. The ethos analysis illustrates a central theme of environmental rhetoric, the human dimension, the ways in which the concepts characterize arguments. There are many environmental personalities and voices, with different impacts in argument. The analysis examines how personal quality is invoked in order to create a certain motivation in the audience and thereby to persuade (Burke 1950, Nussbaum 1990, Billig 1992). As such, the ethos of environ­ mental arguments plays a central role, for it links strongly to notions of authority, legitimation and the criteria by which the argument as a whole is to be judged (Putnam 1981, Nussbaum 1990).