I delivered this speech to introduce myself to the Earth Aware Toastmaster club and also fulfill the CC1 (Competent Communication Module 1) Ice Breaker.

(Start of the speech)

Fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests, I’m Santina Lin. I fall asleep easily. But sometimes I do stay awake to think about the problems in the world. Today I will tell you about the things that keep me up at night.

The first thing is global warming. I worry a lot about climate change. I suppose this has to do with the way I was brought up. I was born in Taiwan in the 90s. It’s a small island with limited natural resources. In kindergarten, we were taught not to leave the water running when we wash our hands. In elementary school, we would stack plastic cups together and step on the aluminum cans so that we minimize the volume of the garbage. Global warming was an undebatable topic in Taiwan and taught early in schools.

So you can imagine the culture shock when my family and I moved to Las Vegas when I was in middle school. I remember being in disbelief when I saw people using several feet length of paper towels every time they wiped their hands, or that kids tossing out apples or unopened carton of milk simply they didn’t want to have it, or that recycling bins were nonexistent. I’m sure things are way better now, but living in much of North America is still unfeasible without a car. In United States alone, people spend billions of hours in traffic every year, wasting billion of gallons of fuel. Many people still deny global warming while the poorer and vulnerable regions of the globe suffer the brunt of climate change.

Still, I do my best and affect people around me. My boyfriend, for example, got in the habit of turning off the stove early when food is almost done cooking. Many people also care about global warming, just like the people in the Earth Aware Toastmaster club. The world in general is moving toward a good direction. At least more and more people are buying hybrid and electric cars. That thought puts me to sleep.

However, the growing culture of alternative facts also keeps me up at night. I have always been a strong believer of science. After finishing high school in the States, I went to study Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University. After undergraduate, I did a Master’s degree in Bioinformatics at UBC, an interdisciplinary field that combines computer science and biology together. My education has given me a great appreciation for science and an understanding that nothing in science comes easy. Everything we know of today, the foundation of our society, such as our smartphones, the medicine, and the public transit come from the sweat, tears, and lives of many nameless researchers and scientists. Therefore, it enrages me whenever people reject a scientific invention or fact and believe something completely made up. For example, some people would believe an article about vaccine causes autism, and that homeopathy would cure cancer. Much of this is due to a lack of understanding and fear the unknown. However, such ignorance is dangerous with politicians when they can design policies that reject global warming or wild life preservation. The war between science and ignorance troubles me and keeps me awake at night. We wouldn’t be so worried about global warming if everyone has a scientific background. That’s the root of the problem.

So in this year’s Earth day, I participated in the March for Science to be part of the global movement that raise awareness about the importance of science. I learned that very soon, 80% of the jobs in the world would require scientific knowledge. and hopefully, With knowledge within the grasp of our smart phones, younger generations will grow up more informed than their parents. Knowing that, I can peacefully fall asleep.

But there’s one thing that not only keeps me up at night, but gets me up from the bed in the morning. What is it? That’s hunger. Not world hunger. But just my own selfish hunger. You see, besides being an environmentalist and science advocate, I also love eating food and digest food quickly. My daily schedule is dictated by not my brain, but my stomach. I believe it’s important to take care of yourself if you ever want to do great things or change the world. So no matters how busy I am, I will listen to my stomach and not miss a meal. I’m passionate about eating simple and healthy. I don’t eat beef as part of a family tradition. I don’t eat too much sweet. But since today is my birthday, please join me for a cake during the break. Thank you very much, fellow Toastmasters and most-welcome guests. Back to you, chair person.

(End of the speech)