Ethos, Age, and the Environment

In this TED Talk, 13-year-old Haaziq Kazi shares his idea for an invention that will clean plastic from the surface of the ocean. Honestly, I chose to listen to this TED Talk because I questioned his ethos from the title. What kind of realistic invention does a 13-year-old have for ridding the oceans of plastic? I imagine that many other people who click on this video wonder about the speaker’s credibility. However, Kazi seems to understand that this would happen, which is why he develops his ethos in three main ways throughout his seven-minute presentation. The way in which Kazi presents himself, uses logos, and uses others’ ethos enhances his own ethos. 

Primarily, the young 13-year-old presents himself professionally. Though every audience member is aware of his age because he states it in his speech, his presentation of himself commands respect. Not only does he dress like every other business-casual person I’ve seen give a TED Talk, but he paces around like one too. His frequent hand gestures and slight pacing remind me of the fully grown and inherently more credible adults that I have seen give TED Talks, so mimicking those gestures is a nod to his credibility. 

Additionally, Kazi evokes logos in order to appeal to his ethos. For about the first three minutes of this speech, he presents harsh facts about how our use of plastic has negative impacts on the ocean. He reports estimates of how many tons of plastic certain demographics are not recycling annually. He cites that “by 2050, we will have as much, or maybe more, plastic in the ocean than fish”. By stating many quantitative facts, Kazi builds his credibility to the audience as someone who is knowledgeable about the severity of the problem of plastic in our oceans. 

After establishing himself as a presentable speaker and an informed environmentalist, Kazi shares why his invention is credible as well. After explaining the downfalls of the first draft of his invention and what he planned to change about it, he states, “So I worked with scientists and engineers to create a more bleeding edge model.” Adding in the detail that professional, credible scientists and engineers were willing to see his idea through strengthens Kazi’s ethos in the area that it was lacking most. The average 13-year-old does not have professional scientists and engineers on their team, but the fact that Kazi has them working on his invention gives his invention, ERVIS, and himself as an inventor more credibility.  

Through his presentable appearance, researched facts, and professional partners, Haaziq Kazi establishes his ethos as an inventor and the ethos of his environmentally-friendly invention. 

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