My Toastmasters Ice Breaker speech only took me about one hour to write. You certainly don’t have to twist my arm to get me started on plants ;-) So here it is – Curtains up for “Nuts about Plants” the speech:
“Chances are, that after my speech today, you will think I’m nuts.
But to use this ice breaker speech to share something about myself and not to address what I am about to talk about would mean to not tell you about something very important to me.
So let me get it off my chest and confess: I have an obsession with plants. Much of my time is devoted to thinking, reading, speaking and writing about plants. Once in a while I also get my hands dirty trying to grow them. Above all though, I feel I have to tell the world just how amazing plants are.
Where does this urge stem from, you might wonder? To be honest, I don’t really know. It might have something to do with my upbringing in a small village surrounded by nature. My grand-parents and parents have always had a big, wild garden and they taught me a deep appreciation of plants.
But what is it that makes plants so special? Oh, there are so many things, but these are my top 3:
- First of all, they are green.
Well, that might not strike you as too special.. Responsible for the green colour are biologic powerhouses, the chloroplasts. Chloroplasts harness light energy and in the presence of water produce oxygen. This process is called photosynthesis. Not that the name matters all that much. What really matters is the oxygen. We can’t survive without oxygen. Try holding your breath, and see how quickly your body will revolt, trying to overcome the situation and you’ll be gasping for fresh air. Our lives depend on oxygen. And every breath we take is a celebration of life – life made possible by plants.
- Plants provide for us in many other ways, too. Food is the obvious one: Fruit, vegetables, nuts, spices – the colour and flavour they add! – grains ground to flour and baked into bread. Even the animals we eat at some stage fed on plants. And there is more: Think about the clothing you wear – the cotton and linen fabrics -, the timber boards you walk on, the many plant-derived medicine there is – from calming chamomile tea to powerful anti-cancer drugs. Plants produce a massive array of useful resources.
- And if all this isn’t yet enough to make a really strong case for plants, for me, there is one more: Plants make me happy. Seriously, I feel better when I am surrounded by plants. That’s why I enjoy bushwalking, visiting parks and Botanic Gardens. I also keep plants at home, and even have a plant on my desk at work.
Looking at the expression on your faces makes me think I might have succeeded in convincing you that I am indeed nuts about plants?
On a more serious note though I hope you agree that plants really have a lot going for them. And given the many aspects of our lives they touch this might very well be not the last of my speeches about plants.