Has humanity been perceiving the climate changes as if it were fiction and thus as something that somehow would disappear by pretending it was not real?
This is what the American actor and climate enthusiast Leonardo DiCaprio implies in his speech at the United Nations Climate Summit in September 2014.
The sender’s point is that climate change will only deteriorate over time and can therefore no longer be ignored. Accordingly, it is a challenge we all must face, as we only get one planet.
DiCaprio states in his speech, “Every week we’re seeing new and undeniable climate events, evidence that accelerated climate change is here right now.” (p. 1, ll. 11-12).
However, it is arguable whether DiCaprio has high ethos. On one hand, DiCaprio is a well-known actor, which makes him a familiar face to the people.
The fact that he is an actor the vast majority have either seen or heard of makes him credible. He uses his skilled and respected image to come out with his message.
On the other hand, he himself refers to his lack of scientific background when he states “I stand before you not as an expert but as a concerned citizen” (p. 1, l. 3)
but since this is a crisis the population is aware of, no scientist is needed for the audience to realize that this crisis needs to be addressed quickly.
All things considered, it can be difficult to determine how high DiCaprio’s ethos should be judged to be.