Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! It is really my great pleasure to stand here and share with you something about our environment.
Do you know the story The Last Leaf by O. Henry? “When the last leaf falls, I will go and my life will have to end.” This is what Johnsy said when she was in despair, she feared that she would “turn loose hold on everything and go sailing down, down, just like one of those poor leaves. ”
Of course, I am here not to talk about the story with you, but just imagine: if the last leaf in the world fell and the last tree were cut down, what would our life be like? I am sorry to give you such an unpleasant problem to think about, but this is exactly what we are supposed to think about.
Some of you may be mumbling in your heart: hey, are you joking? The last leaf? Look, green plants around here, that day is much too far away from us! But is it? Trees are being cut down everywhere in the world and I'd like just tell of one result of the loss of forests----global warming. With fewer and fewer trees, the carbon dioxide produced by us human adds to the seriousness of the greenhouse effect.
The sea level has risen by over 10 cm since the end of last century. Many island countries are endangered. Tuvalu is even planning the move of the whole nation! I have read Earnest Hemingway's Snow of Kilimanjaro about the beauty of this ever-white mountain. But these years the snow is melting and the beauty is disappearing. I wonder wether there would be such a great work in literature if Hemingway lived in our time.
Last year, we all have experienced a warm winter. No snowmen, no ice, I found the joy of the winter no longer existed. Can we say it is not part of global warming and has nothing to do with the tree-cutting around the world? Obviously no. To be honest, we are being involved this disaster ourselves! Serious problem, isn't it?
But fortunately, more and more attention is paid to this matter and actions are taken. Tree-cutting is restricted and even forbidden in many places and young trees are being planted. Activists are yelling for attention and today's contest itself is just part of this. Not too long ago, I read such an interesting event: in a small city in Indernesia, one must plant 2 trees when he or she is getting married and 5 when getting divorced and another 3 for a second marriage. So if one is not loyal to love, he or she can proudly point at the miles of woods: “Look, I am just trying to do something good for our environment! ” In this way, everyone is contributing.
In our life, there also lies things within our ability: plant a tree in your yard, protect those in public and save those in danger. Do a small thing and we can benefit from it a lot.
In the finishing part of O. Henry's story, the last leaf remained and Johnsy recovered from illness. Is it indicating our future? I don't know. But I do hope every one of us can try to do something and it will surely make a big difference.
I am confident about our future. I am confident about the reappearance of the snow of Kilimanjaro. I am confident about those endangered island countries. And I am confident about a joyful winter with snowmen. On such a special day and such a special stage, I'd like to end my speech with a lyric:
Heal the world Make it a better place
For you and for me And the entire human race
There are people dying If you care enough for the living
Make it a better place For you and for me
That's all. Thank you!