Sunday, January 29, 2012

Environmentally Sensitive Area

Here are two signs communicating the same message: that the reader is approaching an environmentally sensitive area. I have come across both while entering forest preserves. 
The first sign is effective, as it says just what it means to. But on a blue highway sign amongst all the others on the road it could be easily overlooked or forgotten. Perhaps the driver is looking for the exit, minding his speed, as well as trying to drive. He may not even read the blue sign, which many drivers know are usually reserved for rest areas and food or gas. The highway is not a place for supplementary information. I know that the sign contains an important fact- but a quick glance at it will not leave the reader feeling terribly responsible for his actions while in the area.
The second sign is clever and amongst the terrain it attempts to protect. It is much more effective as it directly addresses the reader. This alone tends to grab attentions better but it also uses a clever play on words. It contains the same message but is much more memorable. It also makes very clear that the area must not be disturbed. Your presence must be very minimal while visiting.
Neither sign mentions any sort of environmental consequence. This is an additional piece of information that can make people listen. I know the highway sign has little room for it, but within the state park the second sign could have some sort of information pertaining to the wild plants and animals. This is often not enough though. For instance a personal financial consequence could be instated: if they are caught littering or disturbing the area then they will be forced to pay a fine.

1 comment:

Hye-Jin said...

The two very different styles of environment protection signs give the readers different feelings. The first “Environmentally Sensitive Area” sign is formal and official. It makes people think that the area is important. However, because it doesn’t forbid people any specific actions, people may carelessly do something that is not supposed to be done there. If the sign contained some restrictions on people’s actions, people would feel more responsibility and be careful about their behaviors.
In contrast to the first sign, the second sign is very poetic and informal. It doesn’t have strong power that comes from legal responsibility, but it makes people feel guilty for doing any harm to the environment. The sentimental expression affects the readers’ emotion and makes them cherish the environment.
I think the second sign is better than the first one, because not only the second sign makes people do not harm the area, but also it appeals to people's conscience which will prevent them from polluting other environment too.