Becoming a Writer: Speeches 4 of 4

Becoming a Writer: Speeches 4 of 4

Writing and presenting speeches

Successful speeches are carefully crafted so that they have a powerful impact upon their audience. Successful speeches have a clear purpose and are memorable.

You will need

  • A pen
  • Some paper or English book to respond to some of the questions that you are encouraged to think about
  • You may wish to print up a transcript (the written version) of the speech you are going to watch and listen to

Speeches with a purpose

You Do

Greta Thunberg is the Swedish teenager who skipped school and inspired an international movement to fight climate change.

She has become a leading voice, inspiring millions to join protests around the world.  In February she came to Bristol to promote her concerns. Click the link below to watch footage of this event.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-51663632

Greta made a powerful speech to world leaders in Sept 2019. Click on this link to listen to this speech.

Now read a transcript of his speech, you can download it here or/and read it below

Climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, addressed the U.N.’s Climate Action Summit in New York City on Monday. Here’s the full transcript of Thunberg’s speech, beginning with her response to a question about the message she has for world leaders.

“My message is that we’ll be watching you.

This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!

You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

“For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

“You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.

“The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius], and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.

Fifty percent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist.

“So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences.

“To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the best odds given by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] – the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.

How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just ‘business as usual’ and some technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8 1/2 years.

“There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

“You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.

We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.

“Thank you.”

Techniques

Greta uses many techniques in this speech.

Remind yourself of these techniques and find examples of where she uses these techniques by giving the word, phrase or sentence

1st person presentation

I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean.

Emotive Language ( language which encourages an emotional reaction)

You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal

Use of statements which “declare” or accuse

Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil.

Use of a statistic

the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018.

Use of repetition

How dare you!

Use of a personal pronoun

We will not let you get away with this.

Use of tone/attitude of the speaker

And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.

Now go back through the questions and reveal the answers, you may find that you have slightly different examples to the ones which are here as there are sometimes several correct examples.

You will need to refer to these techniques when you write your own speech or presentation.

Why are these techniques effective and widely used in speeches? Here are a few ideas that you may wish to consider

  • The tone of a speech can set a mood which is powerful
  • Statistics can be used to shock the audience as “hard facts” can help to give arguments credibility
  • Ideas and particular words and phrases are often repeated so that the message really gets through to the audience
  • A speaker might want their audience to feel part of their speech; using ” we” makes it seem as though they assume their audience will share their ideas and concern without question

You Do

Which technique do you think is most effectively used in Greta’s speech?

Now share your work with your teacher in the way you usually do

Taking it further

There are many powerful speeches delivered by young people. You can read about them in this article

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/0e9e80de-62cb-4782-a26f-1cd480d28f26

or explore the range in this link

https://www.ted.com/playlists/129/ted_under_20