Rhetorical Analysis of Kofi Annan's speech

Good Essays
Jamie Hagwood
Ms. Chappell
English III
8 January 2015
Rhetorical Analysis of Kofi Annan’s “Towards A Sustainable Future”
On May 14th, 2002, United Nations Secretary­General Kofi Annan gave a speech in New
York on how the world needs a sustainable future. In this speech, “Towards a Sustainable
Future,” he addresses key issues relating to the demise of our planet and how we as a global society can work to put these issues to rest. With emphasis on five specific areas, he sets forth a plan of action to be taken as soon as possible. Throughout the entire speech, Annan aims to empower the “Ladies and Gentlemen” at the American Museum of Natural History to take responsibility for what is to come if they do not make a sustainable change.
Annan begins his speech with an anecdote roughly about the beginning of the world’s interest in taking care of the environment, demonstrating that he cares about the environmental agenda. He introduces an event which would be familiar to the audience, the Earth Summit in
Rio de Janeiro, which intended to develop “growth, equity and conservation” internationally.
However, since the Summit developed countries have fallen short on their promises. “High consumption life­styles” are one of the issues based on the lack of progress. Focusing on this,
Annan establishes what needs to be changed. He also targets the audience, as they are American and America happens to be one of the highest consuming countries in the world. This speech, being a forethought to his next speech at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in
Johannesburg, describes that there is a chance to modify these lifestyles in hopes of saving the

earth. By introducing these points, he establishes a basis for his speech on a social level and support for upcoming statements.
Between paragraphs four and five there is a soft shift where Annan begins to address the differences between developed and developing countries. He discusses that the

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