Speaker Observation Paper

On Monday April 18th the Dublin Library, in celebration of Earth Day, hosted environmental educator, activist, and author Dr. Linda Riebel. In her presentation she introduced the new edition of her book; The Earth Friendly Food Chain under the new title; The Green Foodprint. Her topic was on food choices for healthy people and a healthy planet. The purpose of her speech was to show how anyone-of any lifestyle-can become an earth friendly eater. The presentation was held in a small room in the Library and the audience turnout was surprisingly minimal. There were a total of four adults that attended.
Despite the partially empty room, the speaker was able captivate the audience instantly by opening with a personal experience story about how a Safari trip to Africa ultimately changed her life and as a result she became vegetarian. Dr. Riebel began her speech by proclaiming, with enthusiasm, that the “Food Movement” has started. In the introduction of her speech she reveals her credibility on the subject. Dr. Linda Riebel is not only a vegetarian, but she also is a Psychologist, Eating Disorder Specialist, and Author of the acclaimed book, Eating to Save the Earth: Food Choices for a Healing Planet.
She emphasizes that her speech would not dwell on the bad and negative but rather, focus on the solutions. The solution, she previewed, is already in movement; organic food, local food, meatless options and family farms. At her conclusion she reaffirms that what’s good for the planet and it’s creatures is also good for humans. She concludes by reiterating the good and positive, in that people are moving in the right direction. To further her message, she left the audience with information on where to find local farms, stores, restaurants, and more, for healthy sustainable foods.

She pointed out the benefit of having a diverse system of agriculture that takes advantage of our local area’s resources, tradition, and taste. Also, she was proud to announce that the City of Dublin is launching a new seasonal farmers’ market beginning May 12. In addition to having the freshest in California-grown produce, she states, it will have different “theme weeks” every month to showcase a variety of the local talent and attractions. In her speech, Dr. Riebel, pointed out that; just as we have a carbon footprint, we also have a “foodprint “as well.
Our “foodprint”, she explained, is the way in which our food system’s contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change through the production, processing, packaging, shipping, storage and disposal of food. First she explains some of the environmental problems we are facing right now. This included some information on how we are depleting our water. A vast underground reserve called the Ogallala Aquifer supports over one-fifth of the irrigated cropland in the United States and in the last forty years, farmers have pumped massive amounts of water from the aquifer.
While the need for water continues to grow, the amount available decreases rapidly. In some areas, farmers are consuming the groundwater at more than twice the rate of natural recharge. She also talks about the agricultural use of some rainforest land and how this habitat destruction affects wildlife today. Many commercial agricultural projects are still carried out on rainforest lands, although many of these revert to cattle pasture after soils are depleted. She also made it a point to discuss pesticides.
She began this topic with an interesting history of the original use of pesticides. Their mass introduction into farming 70 years ago, along with petrochemically-derived fertilizers, set U. S. farming down a costly and unsustainable path. Along the way, community-scale farming was nearly destroyed, generations have suffered ill health ranging from cancer to autism and Parkinson’s, biodiversity has taken big hits, and the six mega-corporations who dominate the pesticide industry have gotten very rich and very powerful.
She speaks of hope in that an organization called PAN( Pesticide Action Network) promotes the elimination of highly hazardous pesticides and offers solutions that protect people and the environment. PAN works to loosen the pesticide industry’s control over global agriculture by holding accountable governmental bodies that are charged with regulating pesticides. Dr. Riebel used a PowerPoint as her presentational aid. The PowerPoint presentation had appropriate graphics, appropriate font for ease of reading, appropriate layout of graphics and graphics were in good taste.
The slides were very informative and did not take away from the overall presentation. She included pictures and quotes that got my attention. She also used her new book The Green Foodprint to refer to many of her points. This made me want to buy her book to learn more. She did a good job of relating the topic to current issues of today. The fact that she gave her speech in honor of Earth Day showed how she was trying to adapt her speech to this occasion. She was able to present her message with facts and information in a language that was easily understandable for the audience.
She explained unfamiliar terms and concepts and was able to relate her message to the audience by enticing questions and answers from them. Her speech was enlightening and somewhat of a shock, considering some of the surprising facts she stated. The audience responded with awareness and interest. The speaker did a great job with her delivery. She had confidence and poise. She used specific topics that had relevant value, she maintained accuracy in her statements, and she provided additional clarifying material.
Her poise was shown by her controlled voice. The volume in her voice was loud enough to be comfortably heard. Her use of power, pace and pitch was appropriate for the emotion or thought she was trying to express. For example, when she was trying to entice empathy from the audience when discussing the inhumane treatment of animals, she spoke slowly, and with compassion. She expressed a more enthusiastic delivery, specifically when she talked about the solutions such as shopping local and going organic.
Her use of enthusiasm was appropriate to motivate and persuade the audience to make a change. She was able to stress important words such as “Foodprint” and “Organic” when presenting principal ideas. She maintained a technique of proper pausing to punctuate, to change thought or for emphasis. Her personal appearance showed proper attire and grooming. She had proper posture by standing straight and not fidgeting her hands. She did not show inappropriate facial expressions and was able to maintain eye contact with audience by directly addressing them.
She exerted a warmth feeling, manifested in her facial expression and tone of voice. She had a conversational delivery which she utilized conversational expressions. She used her body to make descriptive gestures and emphatic gestures. This delivery was very effective because the audience was included. She successfully came across as well informed and educated on the topic. The urgency in her voice enticed the idea of change, especially in relation to the concept of Earth Day, and all the people in support of maintaining a healthy planet while eating healthy.
Overall, I enjoyed this speech greatly. The speaker was very organized and confident in what she was saying. The urgency in her tone made me want to be part in the movement to creating a healthier planet and food. The delivery was very effective and it gave me a greater awareness about the food I eat and where it comes from and what’s in it. As she first stated in the beginning of the speech, that she would focus on the positive , she was successful in creating awareness of the solutions all around us.

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