Speech on the most significant threats facing the world today for Leaving Cert English #625Lab

Write a persuasive speech, to be delivered to an audience of world leaders, in which you implore them to focus on the most significant threats facing the world today.

There is a number of ways to structure such a speech, and a laundry list of unrelated topical issues isn't ideal, though of course it is still better than no structure at all. It would be much better to have some kind of overarching theme, e.g. technology ( and three paragraphs on data privacy, artificial intelligence, net neutrality), energy (nuclear, fossil, green), health (rising population, equality of access, antimicrobial resistance), etc. You may also like: Complete Guide to Leaving Cert English (€). 

Good afternoon World Leaders,

We have been gathered here today to discuss the many global threats that endanger each and every one of us. It is our hope that you, as some of the most powerful men and women on Earth, will fight to create a better world, and halt the growing destruction ensued by our race. I will discuss threats such as Nuclear War, Climate Change, corruption in our society, Artificial Intelligence, cyber security and the many diseases which kill millions every year. It is important to realise that many of the topics listed are a direct result of human interference with the natural order of the world. I highlight these issues not for us, but for our children, and our children’s children. It is our duty to protect, conserve and pass on our most important legacy, the Earth itself. To turn a blind eye to these issues is to invite destruction to our doorstep, sacrificing in vain this great gift we received from past generations.

Nuclear energy is paving the way towards the replacement of fossil fuels; however fuel is not the sole concern of certain global powers. Sixty nine years ago, the Cold War between America and Russia was underway, and the attempted movement of Communist missiles to Cuba was dubbed ‘The Cuban Missile Crisis’. Seven decades ago, Humanity held its breath as the situation reached its climax, and life as we know it almost ended. “History often has a habit of repeating itself”, my old History teacher would often say, and it seems that this could not be truer at the moment. Two opposing powers, North Korea and the United States of America stand on the brink of nuclear war, and what has truly been done to stop them? Nothing. Ineffective financial sanctions and trade deals have been rendered moot as the world once more holds its breath. Twice in history has nuclear weaponry been used in war, at the end of World War Two in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The results were devastating, with thousands killed instantly and many more decimated by the fallout. That was Nineteen Forty Five, and I’m telling you, nuclear armaments have become even more destructive. We must instantly disarm both nuclear weaponry and the ever-prevalent ‘Bigger Button Syndrome’ we see in the modern day if humanity is to usher in a new golden age of peace and prosperity. (Nuclear weapons equals bad. Perhaps - but you have to make a more sophisticated argument. If it had been as easy as to just recognise the damage done by them, why hasn't it been done already?)

As I mentioned earlier, Nuclear energy also has an incredible capacity for positive change. If we safely harness this limitless resource, we can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and combat the extreme effects of climate change. Since Nineteen Ninety Eight, sea levels have risen by one and a half inches, more than six times that seen in a similar period during the industrial revolution of the late Eighteen Hundreds. I implore you to encourage positive environmental policies in your individual jurisdictions before it is too late. Simple schemes like “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” or increasing grants towards the encouragement of hybrid or electric cars could make all the difference. The numerous storms experienced recently is evidence as to the destructive nature of climate change and global warming. In my own area, numerous bridges were destroyed and trees uprooted as the country came to a standstill during Storm Ophelia. Scientists even predict a reversal of the Gulf Stream which would unequivocally destroy countless species of animals around the world. No longer can we wait for tomorrow, now is the time for action!

As our technologies improve, so too does our standard of living. However, we must ask ourselves ‘How much is too much?’ Recently there have been many controversies regarding Artificial Intelligence or ‘AI’. It is predicted that by 2020, all manual labour professions will be carried out by machines. (That's in two years! Might want to make that figure more believable.) How long will it be until these machines usurp their creators? We may not see the introduction of “Skynet” or “Terminators”, but who is to say we won’t wake up one morning and realise that we have crossed a line in our arrogance, and unrightfully acted as Gods? If you encourage the movement of emphasis from AI to more healthy goals, it may yet be possible to avoid the development of an unprecedented economic crisis.

However much we may deny it, corruption is everywhere in our society. Just yesterday, a report was released independent of the BBC in England describing huge gender pay gaps, and undoubtedly, this is a reflection of our society as a whole. Every day, women are turned down for jobs in favour of men, despite being more qualified, more experienced and having more ability. We may often encourage women, but the fact is that they are not being treated as equals, from the laws of the Middle East expecting a women’s skin to be covered to the fact that there has never once been a female American President. However much the people of the world complain and protest, there are only some people with the power and influence to stop this. You. If we allow women to fulfil their potential as Marie Curie and Florence Nightingale once did, who knows what heights the human race may reach? 

It is estimated that every day, 2 billion people access the internet. With this increasing figure, cyber security has become a prevalent worry amongst us. Just recently, the NHS in Britain was hacked, leading to thousands of personal records being stolen. Not long after this, blackmail letters were sent to the victims, informing them that if they did not comply and pay an exorbitant fee, their records would be released online. Organisations such as “Anonymous” and “DDOS” are responsible for these crimes, and I strongly encourage all countries to review and improve their policies with regards to internet usage. If we allow these criminals to continue unhindered, there is no telling where their reign of terror will end. It is said that the Pentagon itself was hacked in America last week, upon the computers of which can be found the launch codes for weapons of mass destruction. The damage that could be wrought is unimaginable, and if we do not act now, it could soon become a reality.

The last topic I would like to discuss is the new diseases being genetically engineered, both intentionally and otherwise. Diseases such as “mousepox”, a derivative of smallpox developed in Sweden have been created for personal comfort. However, we must also ask how long it will be until “humanpox” is developed and becomes the next Bubonic Plague. If we are not more careful, we could soon face the extinction of the human race itself. As well as this, I strongly believe we must limit the large numbers of antibodies antibiotics being distributed day-in, day-out. The fundamental principle is: the more we distribute, the less likely they are to work next time. “Super Bugs” are already seen in hospitals around the world. A common example of this is MRSA. If we continue in our complacent distribution of antibiotics, there is a high risk of new superbugs developing and posing a risk to the existence of humanity.

These are only some of the threats we face in the modern day. It is your duty, as world leaders, to not only sanctify new policies and agreements, but to also set an example for the people of Earth. In times of fear, it is you that humanity will look towards, and I can guarantee that such times will occur soon. You must act as bastions of strength, dignity and humility for your people for your people to ensure our survival and prosperity. Please understand that this is not a criticism, merely the act of highlighting what must be done if we are to live in the ideal world of plenty we all strive for.

Thank you for your time.

Speech on the most significant threats facing the world today for Leaving Cert English

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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