In his paper entitled “The war of the roses: demilitarizing invasion biology:, Brendon MH Larson argues that militaristic language used in invasive species articles to invoke a response in the reader can actually have negative effects. He claims that these metaphors contribute to public misunderstanding of invasive species, and that they support militaristic ways of thinking that make it hard to create a sustainable relationship between humans and the natural world. According to Larson, the problem with militaristic language relies on two fundamental facts about war. 1) A war requires opposing sides. 2) Wars are fought with the belief that good will triumph over evil. These assumptions are leading the public to have a misconstrued view of invasive species. They can also have a boomerang effect, where the readers have the opposite reaction to the language than is intended.
“Currently, the Australian government is preparing to spend between five and seven million dollars over the next 15 years to combat the cane toads…The economic loss resulting from the disturbance and destruction caused by invasive species is huge.” (Butler 2005). This quote is from author Tina Butler, a writer for an online newspaper, who comments about the importance of the elimination of cane toads from Australian ecosystems.
Although Larson raises a few valid points, I have to disagree with his argument. Militaristic language has inspired people to act and take up the “fight” in whatever they believe in for centuries. It’s psychological that more vivid and intense language will influence people’s opinions and possibly lead them to acting on them. I don’t think that the use of militaristic language is problematic nor is it ineffective. These metaphors do not incite riots or violence, but rather they convey the importance of the eradication and removal of invasive species and how large of an effect they have on the general public. Militaristic language is absolutely necessary to gain support from readers and to convince the general public that something must be done.
Butler, Tina. “Overstaying Their Welcome: Cane Toads In Australia.” Mongabay. http://news.mongabay.com/2005/0417b-tina_butler.html. Viewed February 23, 2010.