Invading Minds – Creating Awareness of An Un-A-lure-ing Cause
Americans today are extremely passionate about ensuring that American soil is never invaded. If a military or terrorist invasion occurred in America, citizens and government would stop at nothing to eradicate the threat. Interestingly, there is an invasion of American land that has been taking place for decades and many Americans are not aware of it. There are thousands of trespassers but their threat is not immediate and therefore, many do not fully comprehend the damage that they are capable of. They are invasive species. Many organizations, including governmental, effectively use rhetorical strategies in info graphics to raise awareness of invasive species in efforts to curb their growth.
Each info graphic appeals to a different audience and is shaped to influence a specific population. Figure 1 is geared towards wealthy to middle class Americans who enjoy aquatic recreation. The blue toned colors are relaxing to see and elevated language is used as an eloquent way to forewarn the threat that invasive species have upon the recreational activities that the audience enjoys so much. The vibrant orange background and images of money featured in figure 2 are geared towards influencing un-educated people who care more about the monetary downfalls of invasive species rather than environmental. The informal language, excessive exclamation points, and bright colors are attention grabbers rather than informational mediums. Monetary spending of Great Britain, United States, and the globe is stated and indicates that British and American people are being targeted as audience members. Both countries are world superpowers whose societies focus heavily on money. If the info graphic was for a third world nation, such as Ethiopia or Bangladesh, in which the society focuses on a daily need for food rather than an accumulation of money it would be more effective to show an increasing amount of crops destroyed, livestock killed, or other decreases in food availability from invasive species. Figure 3 shows pertinent invasive species that reside in the Great Lakes and appeals to residents of states that surround the Great Lakes such as Michigan and Illinois. Many surrounding states have residents who make a living off of fishing in the Great Lakes. A looming and grey fishing boat can be seen in the background, an ominous warning to Great Lakes fishermen whose livelihood is threatened.
Each of these info graphics has the purpose of calling citizens to action in the fight against invasive species but they achieve that goal in different manners. The images in figure 1 are simple, allowing the audience to focus on the words. The placement of “Methods of Spread” being before each “Effects of Invasion” create a cause and effect fallacy that gardening and boating is the cause of invasive species. Though it is extreme to make such an assumption, it is only beneficial to for people to over-assume responsibility for the spread of invasive species and take many precautions doing everyday tasks.
The info graphic that essentially screams “They Might Invade Your Homes Too!” contains little to no information about invasive species but it does prove to be an operative method of getting attention. After seeing how much money is being funneled into invasive species the audience is likely to do more research to learn what they are. It is more unlikely that someone who knows nothing of invasive species would take the time to read or even notice the other two info graphics. The apparent money is attractive and begins the educating process of invasive species. It is necessary to have eye-catching and simple info graphics to first bring attention so that action can follow.
Figure 3 frightens its audience by showcasing a lake trout fish that is completely surrounded by invasive species. The scale of each animal is extremely disproportionate to make them appear more threatening. The central lake trout fish has a terrified expression on its face, making audiences feel sorry for the fish that has to endure the torment of other invasive species. Humans are much more likely to take action when emotionally moved which is why a scared fish is shown being attacked by large sea lamprey. Fish do not make facial expressions or feel pain so it is misleading to represent a fish in such a manner. Though misleading, appeal to pathos is one of the best ways to gather support. The seemingly harmless round goby is referred to as aggressive. The word aggression has negative connotation making the 7 inch fish seem more threatening. Similarly, the bloody red shrimp is portrayed as threatening because its effects are “unknown”, a concept that appeals to logos. If the effects of the bloody red shrimp are unknown then it is reasonable to work to prevent the species from populating further so that the effects never have to be known.
At this point in time, all of these info graphics are perceived as pertinent to society because there are no other unrelated overarching public concerns that exist like war or plagues. Invasive species awareness attributes its success completely to riding the coattail of the movement towards environmentalism in the face of global climate change. Invasive species are an environmental hazard which is brought to attention especially in the first info graphic. The first and foremost effect of invasion is “Destruction of Native Life”. The main purpose is to encourage boaters to clean their boats off after usage but it gains credibility by appealing to the widespread industry of environmentalism. According to Larry Bell in his article “The Alarming Cost of Climate Change Hysteria” the United States alone spends $8.8 billion yearly on federal climate spending, a massive and influential industry that is backed up by the government that only encompasses a small part of environmentalism. (Bell, 2011) The middle class to wealthy population that reads this will be more inclined to follow the implications of smart gardening and clean boating if they are aware that the environment could suffer because of their actions.
American citizens are wary of environmental concerns which means that they are susceptible to learning about invasive species, especially if rhetorical strategies are employed to make the eradication of invasive species an appealing cause. It is not possible serve information to all citizens in the same medium which is why different types of info graphics have been made to appeal to different locations and populations. By invading the minds of Americans and silently persuading them to take action with media, it could be possible to have an America that is truly and one hundred percent free.
Bell, Larry. “The Alarming Cost of Climate Change Hysteria.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 23 08 2011. Web. 2 Apr 2014.
Korthof, Samantha. Invasive Species of the Great Lakes. 2012. Infographic. Behance, Milwaukee. Web. 2 Apr 2014. .
Shoulak, Joe. Surprise Guests. N.d. Infographic. The Wall Street Journal. Web. 2 Apr 2014. .
They Might Invade Your Homes Too!. N.d. Infographic. WordPress. Web. 2 Apr 2014. .