This is a test run of the 2-minute speech I’ve got to give tomorrow before my Dale Carnegie class. I need to use a visual aid for this, and describe an accomplishment. I’ve tested this a few times to get it polished but I think writing it once will help.
Here we go…
(enters speaking area, pushing my commuter bike)
Hello, I’m Robert Raymond and this is my bicycle.
So, let’s talk about Easter Island.
(pause for audience to shift around).
Easter Island is in the South Pacific, some 1400 miles from anywhere. You might remember it for those pictures of the rolling grassy hills and the big stone heads, hundreds of them, dotting the landscape.
Well, when the Polynesians originally settled Easter Island, they found it to be a lushly forested paradise. The garden plots they cleared produced amazing yields, thanks to the rich volcanic soil. Besides this agriculture, the natives relied on deep water fishing – there were no close-in reefs – and harvested porpoises. Between these two food supplies, the people prospered, their population comfortably maintained at 25,000. Life was good.
(add a bit of disdain to my voice)
And then they got urbane. Then they got into status. The clans began to compete with each other in producing these huge carved stone heads. And that would be fine, except to move them from the quarry to their place of display, they needed many, many rollers to transport their multi-ton status symbols. And to get these rollers, they had to chop down trees. In the end, the cut down every tree on the island.
And do you know what happened next?
Their civilization suffered an environmental collapse. The winds carried off their volcanic topsoil. They had no trees to produce their fishing fleet. Their population crashed. They went from 25,000 people to 400 wizened survives when discovered in 1755. Their midden heaps showed evidence of cannibalism.
This is what happens when a civilization destroys its environment and crashes.
(pat my bike handle).
As I said, this is my bicycle. I use it to get to work 2-3 times a week. It burns no gas. It produces no heat. It is the most elegant form of transportation built by man.
When I ride to work, I save a half-gallon of gas. Over a week, that’s a gallon or more saved. Over a year, that’s a fifty-five gallon drum of fuel. Furthermore, I feel healthier and happier when I ride.
Riding my bike to work is my effort to reverse the twin disasters of global warming and fuel depletion. I’ve been at it for fifteen years, ten at FedEx. I’m very proud of my accomplishment.
(Bow before rave applause. Accept Nobel Piece Prize).