David Suzuki's A Planet for the Taking


In the essay "A Planet for the Taking," David Suzuki describes
Canadians' odd appreciation for this great natural bounty we call our own. He
is an internationally acclaimed scientist who is concerned about the welfare of
Canada. Suzuki's intended audience is the Canadian population that does not
realize the grave danger they are instilling upon themselves by haphazardly
taking our resources without looking at the subsequent repercussions of their
actions. The essay is persuasive and informative. He compares various facets
of science and gives reasons why none of these fields can explain why we are
destroying nature.
The organization of the essay supports the author's views well. It
begins with general opinions about the Canadian population and is followed by
more detailed explanations. The general opinions in the beginning are well-
chosen considering the audience. Suzuki's tone is evident when he states "We
have both a sense of the importance of the wilderness and space in our culture
and an attitude that it is limitless and therefore we needn't worry." These
words suggest that we are willing to reap the rewards of our vast resources but
we fail to see the harm that we are doing, and will continue to do if we do not
stop these actions.
Although his approach for explaining his beliefs changes, Suzuki's tone
of great concern remains consistent throughout the essay. After his views are
presented, Suzuki begins to tell us what we have done to our country and how we
are destroying it. Present day Canadians are compared to native Canadians which
successfully serves its purpose in illustrating how, for centuries, people lived
off the natural resources in Canada. With the development of science and
technology, we have developed better ways of mass harvesting resources but these
methods are taking at a faster rate than nature can sustain. Science suggests
means of replacing these resources we are taking but there is no quick
replacement for ecosystems that have taken thousands of years to evolve.
Following his explanations of how we have destroyed nature, Suzuki
discusses science and how society deals with it, "I believe that in large part
our problems rest on our faith in the power of science and technology." This
statement and the following sentences are used to describe how people deal with
great developments in science and technology. Because there have been so many
great advances in these fields in the past century, people are comfortable
placing their faith in science though scientists are still far from discovering
all of the secrets to the universe. Scientists interfere with nature without
having a complete understanding, subsequently harming it. All sciences attempt
to explain nature but are unable to do so. Therefore, following the discoveries
of science may be more harmful than helpful. This idea about science is one of
Suzuki's main goals in writing this essay. He wants to create an awareness that
just because scientists have had many great successes, they cannot determine how
to deal with everything else on the planet.
Suzuki creates a good relationship with the reader from the start. He
makes general statements about Canadians which most of the audience either
believes or can relate to. The writing is persuasive but the arguments are
presented in a non- offensive manner which creates a good rapport with the
reader. When Suzuki explains the scientific parts of his argument, he does so
in a simplistic way which puts the reader at ease but serves its purpose in
provoking thought.
The author is quite serious and certain about his topic. These feelings
are evident through his powerful writing and diction. "We need a very profound
perceptual shift and soon." This is Suzuki's closing sentence for the essay.
His suggestion for a change in people's perceptions is clear and direct, leaving
no room for misinterpretation; he does this consistently throughout the essay.
Discussing the topic with such seriousness makes it an effective, persuasive
essay.
The essay does not contain much powerful, descriptive imagery but
Suzuki's powerful examples serve the same purpose. Supplying the reader with
examples to support his arguments is a valuable means of persuading the reader.
By giving examples, the audience can relate to the topic and see what they have
done to nature. Examples of the various types of sciences also help the
audience to relate. Suzuki provides the reader with examples of the
shortcomings of all the fields of science, helping to make the reader second-
guess science. Some powerful images he does use, however, are present when he
describes the terminology that society uses for plants and animals, "We speak of
?herds' of seals, of ?culling' ?harvesting,' ?stocks.'" These images support the
theme of the essay because they show