Elizabeth Kolbert's "The Darkening Sea" was first published in The New Yorker but later appeared in the book, The Global Warming Reader, which brings light to the problem of pollution and its effect on the oceans. The book was published in 2012, and contains work from over 10 different climate authors. "The Darkening Sea" presents the mostly unknown argument that our oceans are absorbing upwards of 90% of the pollution that is released into the atmosphere. The article is aimed at an audience that believes that global warming is a problem, but may not realize that pollution is already affecting us, and will continue to get much worse. Kolbert argues that the repercussions of this "invisible" problem are more catastrophic than we understand. The problem is invisible because most people do not associate pollution with the ocean. Kolbert's underlying main argument disagrees with that belief by stating that pollution has a large effect on the ocean, and that land and the ocean impact each other in various ways. Throughout the essay the rhetorical techniques of logos, pathos, and ethos are explicitly used to help the reader understand the severity of this particular issue.
First off, Kolbert uses logos throughout the article. She explains in great detail each of the experiments to make sure that the non-scientific community can relate and understand them. Kolbert also presents evidence to back up her argument that the oceans are bearing the burden of our polluting culture. She uses her own experience, along with the reports of well-known scientific researchers, to give the reader some background into this issue. She explains that wherever water and air come into contact with one another, an exchange of chemicals is made. This exchange has driven the oceans pH level to decline by 0.1 or 30%. This means that the ocean is overall becoming more acidic. Kolbert describes this change as being so drastic that some scientists have coined a name for the process, "Ocean acidification".