Tomorrow, I give my a speech for St. Louis South County Toastmasters. It will be my fourth speech since joining Toastmasters last January. I love public speaking. I miss it when I am not working in the national parks. Plus, I have really enjoyed getting to know the members of South County Toastmasters. They have all been incredibly warm and kind to me. Even more, they have provided many helpful suggestions to improve as a public speaker. Their tips have really helped me improve as I give presentations to the public as a seasonal ranger at Crater Lake National Park. My dream is to be a full time green speaker/climate change communicator. Toastmasters is really helping me gain the skills to be a professional speaker.
Thus, I do recommend Toastmasters or a public speaking group to people who are passionate about climate change, environmental issues, and promoting living green lifestyle. It will make you a more polished speaker. Furthermore, you get to speak to a cross-section of society. You are not just “preaching to the choir” like if you spoke at a conservation club meeting. A Toastmasters’ audience ranges across the political spectrum from hard core conservative Tea Party supporters, moderate and undecided voters, to very progressive liberal voters who sympathize with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Toastmaster members do a great job to evaluate your speech based upon your delivery, organization, and effective speaking techniques. They are not suppose to be critical of your speech if they disagree with you politically.
Toastmasters has been a fabulous forum for me to present speeches on climate change and green issues. I know for a fact that there are some hard core deniers of climate change in the audience. They bristle as soon as I mention the word “climate change.” There are a couple of members who question the evidence after my speeches, such as “What is the evidence that climate change real?” “Isn’t climate change just natural and normal?” “Don’t you drive a car and use carbon to heat & cool your home?” “How do we know that the measurements that carbon dioxide is increasing are accurate?” These are all great questions that challenged me to really learn more in depth about climate change so I can speak more fluently about it. I appreciate the members of the club who are deniers of climate change because they have been very tough taskmasters to me. At the same time they have been respectful and kind to my passion on climate change. I appreciate their openness to allow me to use Toastmasters to create speeches on the problem and solution to climate change.
This past April, I presented a speech for Toastmasters, with the title: I am Drop a Stink bomb on You! The speech was about the key evidence that scientists point as the key indicator of climate change, carbon isotopes. My key point was that scientists know humans are pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, not volcanoes or the ocean, because they can measure the carbon 12 versus the Carbon 13 or Carbon amount in the atmosphere. It was very tricky, technical speech. I definitely felt like I was performing a high wire balancing act with heavy scientific information to a non-scientist audience. For the most part, I felt like I succeeded with the speech. However, I had technical difficulties with the power point remote and I kept turning around to point at the large screen. Both of these speaking glitches my audience found distracting. However, I did scare them pretty intensely with the information about climate change. A few weeks after the speech, a good friend in the Toastmasters club, Nilsa, informed me that my next speech had to be “more uplifting with solutions to climate change. You scared the hell out of us that WE ARE STINKING UP THE PLANET with your last speech.”
Therefore, the speech I am giving tomorrow night is a sequel or flip side to the previous speech. It is much more upbeat and light. It is called It is Easy and Fun to Be Green. I am aiming for the undecided and deniers of climate change in my audience. I am speaking to them in a language they understand: CASH! and not even mentioning the sensitive word of climate change. I am getting excited because I will be giving the speech in less 24 hours from now. Wish me luck!
Tomorrow night, I will post the speech and the response I received from my fellow Toastmasters. In a future blog posting, I will also post the I am Going to Drop a Stinkbomb on You! speech.