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Wake up before its too late

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Studies
Wordcount: 1381 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen.

‘When the well is dry, we shall know the value of water’- these famous words by Benjamin Franklin vividly describe the world we live in today. It is only when we run out of things that we take for granted, that we realise how valuable and priceless it really was. Unfortunately, by that time it is usually too late to mend the damage.

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I would like to start with a little story that took place at a sea-side. Each time a wave washed on land, it would carry a couple of dozens of starfish, deposit them ashore and then the waves would reunite with the sea. As you all know, starfish can only survive on land for a few days. A young boy decided that this had to stop. The death of these wondrous creatures deeply disturbed him. Determined to put an end to this terrible fate, he set about trying to save them by picking up each one and throwing it back into the sea.

A man came across him and curiously asked, “Why bother throwing the starfish back into the sea? Each time you throw one, a dozen more wash across the beach!”

“Well,” said the boy, stooping down to pick a starfish, “At least, I’m saving this one,” as he threw it back into the sea.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to address this important session at the 12th Annual International Conference on the Environment. I would like to express my sincerest gratitude towards all of you for your august presence. Today, I stand here, positive that I speak on behalf of several others, with similar concerns and hopes for the future of our planet. I am going to tell you about the three environmental issues, which, in my opinion, are the most pressing problems that need to be dealt with, to heal our Mother Earth, to save it from destruction.

Let me tell you what is happening to our planet Earth, what will happen to it if we do not enact a change, effective immediately. Firstly, let me take you on a journey to today’s tropical rainforests. We have cut trees to serve our personal benefits. We have cut trees to expand our agriculture. We have cut trees to exploit oil to use in our factories. We have cut trees to use in our paper, furniture and building industries, to name a few. All this has undoubtedly enabled us to have a comfortable life. However, there are always two sides to a coin. Let’s sneak a peek at the other side. We have cut our single, most essential source of oxygen. Rainforests are so much more than our typical image of just trees and shrubs. They are a home to some of the most diverse species of plants and animals and we are thoughtlessly destroying it. Our tree cutting is also causing soil erosion, flooding and global warming. We have been seeking ways to make our life comfortable. Our comforts have created discomforts for our Mother Earth. We have, instead, forgotten it for own convenience, for our immediate wants and needs. Trees can not be cut down one day and then be expected to grow back the following day. So let us wake up before it is too late!

Now, let us venture from the rainforests to the vast oceans and seas. Since the beginning of mankind, water has been the key source of civilization. It has been our heritage and we owe everything to it. As you all know, water covers about 70% of the Earth’s surface. However, only 3% of it is fresh which can be used for drinking or irrigation. Recently, during my visit to a seaside, my eyes were opened to the sheer amounts of discarded waste, stretching from the beaches to the sea. I was appalled by the amount of unexpected litter strewn across the beach. People ruthlessly throw syringes, rubber slippers, plastic bottles, bags and tins on the beach. Wastewater from factories and industries, and insecticides from farms had also ended up in the sea. This results in the endangering of marine ecosystems and also makes the water harmful for human consumption. As the world population grows, the need for water also increases. Approximately 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe water; this is roughly one sixth of the world’s population. If we do not act fast to prevent water pollution, it won’t be long before our Earth will turn from a “blue planet” to a “dirty blue planet.” So let us wake up before it is too late!

Finally, let us take a trip to the upper atmosphere and get a close-up of what is actually happening there. Rain- our source of water- has also become dangerous. There is an increasingly high concentration of pollutant gases worldwide from power stations, factories and cars. These gases have dissolved with tiny droplets in the clouds to form acid rain. The proof of this is the famous site in India- the Taj Mahal. The effects of acid rain have taken toll and weathered away the beautiful marble. That is not all! The ozone layer- the shield which protects the Earth’s surface from the dangerous rays’ of the sun is being destroyed due to air pollution. Today, there is a massive hole over the Antarctica. The list of such follies is just endless. As a society, we need to understand that our actions have major implications on the environment that can be virtually irreversible. So let us wake up before it is too late!

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Remember back to the forest fires in Scandinavia, to the dying coral reefs in Fiji, to the flooding in Manila and then remember all the stories that we hear of philanthropy and humility displayed by humans all over the world every week. All of this is proof that we care, that we are perfectly capable of defining what is right and wrong and thereafter standing up for what is right, standing up for each other, and standing up for the environment. In spite of all our selfish acts, we all have a sense of compassion treasured within us. Together, let us cultivate this compassion towards making a fruitful future for our planet.

The question is how. How can you as an individual enable a change to help the environment? How can you ensure that you will never have to walk out on the streets to face a never-ending landscape of bareness? The truth is that we can not resolve this problem without a joint effort. The truth is that we have the ability to make a change, all we need is willpower. The truth is that it may be challenging, but it will also, most certainly, bear the fruits of the seeds we have sown. The fruits that will be enjoyed, not just by us or our children, but also, the children of the future- those who are not yet born, those, who we will never know and never meet, they are the ones who need us the most.

If we as individuals take the initiative to create a clean environment nothing is impossible. We must start with the little things such as saving energy and disposing of litter properly, which, on its own, can make a huge difference. A consciousness should be cultivated in us. It is only then that we shall be able to advance to working on major issues. If we all work together from a local scale, to a national scale and eventually a global scale we will most definitely be able to re-create a beautiful earth to live in, for not only the generation of today but also for many more generations, yet to come. We must join hands to protect our environment, join hands to secure its future and join hands to ensure a better place for our future generations. Together, we can make a change, a change for the better; we can make a change today.

It is never easy to accept defeat, to accept failure and to admit that we didn’t do enough. Let us hope that the day never comes when we regret our actions. Let us act now to prevent our very own despair, remorse and resentment for what we may lose because of what we didn’t do. Let’s not give us a chance to ask ourselves- ‘How did we get to this?’ I urge you now to do every little bit you can to benefit the environment. Let us not wait till it’s too late. On this note, I would like to end by saying that every little action will make a difference. Every little action counts. Just like the little boy at the seashore, we too must save every little starfish that we can.

Thank you very much for your kind attention, ladies and gentlemen.


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