Speech festival applications are now closed until August 2021.
The World needs a wake up call - our endangered planet is teetering on the edge of destruction.
In the words of Earl Nightingale, "Our environment...is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations." If we expect our planet to be around for the future, then we need to change our attitudes now.
We cannot wait until it is too late before we decide to act. We need a fundamental change ... and soon.
How do I hope to do my small bit for the environment?
Right here, right now, I want to provide that wake up call to everyone listening here today. As young people, you're the ones with the power to enact change. [Call to action]
The problem is worse than we realise. Global warming, deforestation, mining and carbon emissions are all contributing to mankind's destruction of our natural resources. Let's take a look at some of the statistics.
They represent an alarming reality [Emotive language]: 27,000 plant and animal species have become extinct; 85% of the larger fish species are no longer found; the plastic in the oceans is multiplying; and more forests, grasslands and prairies are being destroyed by humanity's population explosion [Emotive language].
But what does this mean for us as a society? [Question makes the following arguments easier to follow] As Margaret Mead suggests, "We can't have a society if we destroy the environment." [Use of quotes gives variety to the prose] I believe that a truly mature society is one that knows what truly matters.
What matters is this: Happiness can't dwell inside concrete and glass alone. Children and adults need nature in order to lead meaningful lives. The more we get back in touch with nature, the richer our society will become.
So what can be done? We need to research, develop and use renewable energy sources. We need to recycle and reuse everyday products. We need to waste less and conserve more. On a global level, it's a tougher challenge.
Governments all over the world need to think long-term. They need to care for not only their present interests, but also those of future generations.
Yes, the planet is becoming sick. But I'd like to leave you with a message of health [Contrasts 'sick' and 'health']. Like a child who has come down with a flu, with the right medicine [Use of metaphor], the earth really can get better.
In the words of David Orr, "When we heal the planet, we heal ourselves."