Good evening ladies and gentlemen, I’m here today to campaign for a fairer world.
Now I’m sure you’ve heard about the problems overseas, particularly due to the current crisis regarding the refugees looking for shelter after escaping a world of violence, war and death. I’m sure you’ve heard about the struggle of the starving, the struggle of the dying.
But I’m standing here before you today not only to show you the many problems of our modern society but also to present solutions. Measures, that when put into practice, may be able to save countless lives and all with the help of your generous donations.
I’m aware that the majority of you are certainly not indifferent to the state of our world, to the people suffering, fighting and sacrificing themselves in order to survive. But maybe you don’t feel like you can make a difference, you don’t believe you can make a change. Well, you can. As Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most influential individuals to ever step foot on this planet, has put it, you can “be the change you want to see in the world”.
No children are going to be fed while you spend you evenings sitting on the couch, no refugees are going to reach freedom while you watch you favorite show on television. So be the one to act, be the one to reach out and help someone, be the one to save someone’s life, because if you feel powerless, incapable, impotent, what makes you think other people are not feeling the same?
What makes you think that people are going to donate their precious time and money for a greater good if you’re not willing to do that yourself? So set the example, be the change and know that just for the price of a single coffee, you could feed an entire family because nowadays there are over one billion people that survive on less than one dollar a day. And remember that while the poor are only getting poorer, while their already miserable living conditions are only getting worse, the rich are solely getting richer. The richest 20% of the world’s population consume almost 90% of its natural resources, such as energy, timber, water and minerals, while developing countries are lacking those same products. Not only that, but the few resources that these countries are entitled to are frequently severely damaged and endangered by finance projects such as oil pipelines and mines.
In addition, global trade rules as well as the power of big businesses over governments are doing little in order to improve the living conditions of the world’s majority and just 500 big companies control about two-thirds of the world trade.
But let’s not get discouraged because despite the severe and serious problems mentioned above, there are also solutions to help prevent the injustice and inequality of the world.
We can all reduce our negative impact on the planet and on other people by thinking about how we use our precious resources, because what happens when the resources we all take for granted on a daily basis simply run out?
What happens when the problems faced nowadays by millions of people living far away in developing countries, suddenly become our children’s problems, our grandchildren’s problems?
What If your actions today don’t only influence the lives of strangers but also the fate of your relatives, your friends, your co-workers?
Strong laws could make companies responsible for their impact on the environment worldwide. And by buying fairly traded products like coffee, tea, bananas and chocolate, you are enabling hard-working and determined men and women to be paid fairly. So we should all campaign for global rules that protect our planet and give local communities priority over so-called free trade.
To conclude, I want to remind you that although our ambitions may be big and our plans may be difficult to execute, they are by all means not impossible.
Yes, they will require sacrifice.
Yes they will require determination as well as courage.
But as you know success does not come to those who settle, to those who chose comfort and luxury over hard-work.
And while we are still able to change humanity’s fate, future generations might not be able to do so.
So don’t let your children and grandchildren down.
Don’t let your country down or our world down.
Most of all don’t let yourself down. Make us all proud.
Thank you very much for your attention and remember that what you may think is useless and indifferent, may change someone’s life.
Joana Veloso, 10B