On the Importance of Cooperation for the Environment

Viktória Szőke

Recently more and more people are becoming aware of how damaged the environment really is. That would lead one to believe that the problem(s) will soon be solved, right? Wrong. Most people seem to share the same sentiment: “I recognize and acknowledge the problem, but I won’t do anything about it, because it isn’t necceseary. I mean, surely it won’t be my help alone that would save the entire environment.”

That statement has both some truth and some falsity in it. True, on your own you cannot balance out the damage caused by the majority, but there are many things that you can do to cause less damage and do more good. You can reduce, reuse and recycle, shop wisely, use long-lasting light bulbs, save water and electricity, etc. All these things help protect our environment, and most of them don’t take much energy or money.

Once you decide to lead your life in an environmentally friendly way, you have the right to expect others to do the same. There’s a long list of things that you can do as a group: for example, with a tree-planting organization. Just think how much time you can save, if you plant twenty-five saplings with five other people instead of doing it by yourself. Another thought in favour of cooperation is that if—let’s call the people that aren’t living eco-friendly lives “Group A,” and the ones that are, “Group B” —so if Group A sees that there’s an entire group of people already following those mostly simple tips listed before, they’re likely to feel more motivated and enabled to do the same.

Now that we’ve established how we—individually and as a group—can do something in our everyday life for our environment, let’s think about how this would really affect our Earth. As mentioned before, a single person alone cannot make much of a difference for the environment over the short term, but they can make a huge difference long term. They can motivate others to make the same eco-friendly choices, who can do the same for others, eventually forming a majority or at least a big enough group to balance out the rest. Now this big-enough group can actually make a difference, and when you think about it, they started as a single person, or only a few. Once you have educated yourself on the topic, how can you expect others to make those choices if you yourself don’t do the same?


Simon Stoica-Bodor

Hi, my name is Simon, and I’m going to talk about the real source. You can feel it in success, in kindness, even in knowledge. People seek after love through games, at school, and from people. Everyone knows, if we don’t get love we won’t be happy. We all want to be esteemed, and I think we often lose the true purpose in front of our eyes. I am not saying that we shouldn’t be looking for recognition, but I think we can enjoy it when we get it.

I always desired recognition from my elder brother, or from my father. Sometimes from my friends I do too. It’s not a bad thing. However, if we want love, if we want something real, we won’t get it through social media. It shows people the fake side, in almost every situation. People act like they don’t care if you don’t hit the like/heart button, but actually they do.We all want recognition; this isn’t a problem. But if we run after feelings that don’t even last a long time, we deceive ourselves.

We know the proverb “haters gonna hate.” It just describes what we shouldn’t do. Hating on the net is like hanging unnecessary opinions on people’s back. Personally I am not affected by this problem, but we might solve our problems personally or in private.

If we really wish to do something other than playing on our phones, chatting all the time, or scrolling on our social pages, we must hang on for a second and decide what will help us out of this endless maze. It’s a perfect example of things which can easily steal your time. It has often happened that I was watching a series or playing games or just scrolling my for you page on TikTok, and then my time disappeared.

So guys, I know that it’s a lot easier to live with your phone and be a part of the giant brick wall as a brick, but if you care about my opinion, you should manage your time, and what is more important, be yourself. I am not thinking about the way you see yourself, I’m talking about your dreams. A lot of you guys love “retro” things. Just represent your opinion and live by it.

As far as I’m concerned, love is misunderstood. You have heard it a thousand times, but it’s not a cliché. Even if it is, they say every cliché is built on truth.

On Self-Transformation

Buse Özcan

Hello everyone, my name is Buse and I’m in the fourth year of a French high school called Sainte Pulchérie in Istanbul, Turkey. Today, I am going to be speaking to you about how my life vision has changed and how my self-awareness has evolved as a result of experiences drawn from life events. Also the emotions I feel are actually the basic bricks of my life, even at the very young age as seventeen…
Life is a thing where we always make irreversible moves, as in a game. It uses our lack of experience, and we unintentionally allow it to do so. Sometimes our character is affected, and our emotions are changed by this game.
Personally, I am not afraid of changes; I feel strong enough to adapt every moment of mine to the moves of life. But what about the notion of “feeling” that I mentioned ?
If I have to talk a little about it, feelings arise from our consciousness. Every person has concealed emotions in their own hidden corner, and, I think, feelings are reflections that are transmitted to our hearts without being filtered by the mind. I am the owner of my feelings, and I am the one that allows them to affect me.
Are not my feelings the first thing that I turn to when I don’t want to accept the difficulty of the bond that I have established between heart and logic?

In fact, this is to see what I am subconsciously processing into my inner cells. I would like to pull out my self-reality, which is veiled out of the thousands of emotions I see and feel. I am sure everyone has feelings that not everyone else is aware of.
To put it even more strongly: nobody’s feelings are the same. It is just that human beings tend to adapt to the community because of their psychology. Because people grow up like that, they grow in society.
Being alone, choosing a different way, are acts of courage, courage but there can also be inner emotional and abstract pressures that block people from making decisions.

I can not say that every step or decision is taken by my logic, because my emotions are the greatest proof of my humanity. Of course, the reality that I can hear the voice of my consciousness has an impact on the decisions which I make in my life. Sometimes my feet slip from the stairs as I’m climbing and I see that I am falling down. Sometimes I even forget that this seemingly endless staircase is my life. However, I am aware that whenever I fall one step down I will go up two steps to get closer to the present. I may see what has been brought to me in my life on the third step; the steps I have climbed one by one in two, show me the trap of life.
And maybe its gift.
Nothing happens without a reason, of course. If I’m falling, I have to be on my life ladder in order to rise further.
And if I am moving forward without falling, I believe there is an underlying reason as well. How is it possible for something to happen and not have a cause?
That’s why everybody has their own timeline ladder. Everyone’s number of digits is different, and in the same way, they run out.
Could there be coincidences if everyone climbed the same steps on their own ladder in the same way? I think no. Is it not the point of intersection between the differences that we call coincidence? I think yes.
Is coincidence already an intersection waiting for us? We can think of it like this: there is a point at which two non-parallel lines will eventually intersect. Maybe one of the two people would prefer to draw circles, but when he has to move forward he will certainly hit that point.
It is also worthy to mention another point. People must, of course, read and educate themselves in order to obtain the ability to interpret. The counsel of important, valuable individuals who live or lived should be heard. But in my opinion, people ought to discover their own quotes for life. Although it is beneficial to adopt the lessons learned from previous lives, to be able to enlarge the perspective of life we should just analyze and make some resolutions. For instance, if some events are not going well for me, I believe there are things that are going positively in another way. Doesn’t the world work as antagonists on many issues ? Even some hormones in our body increase while the other ones decrease for the inner balance. This is how our life is. I believe that it is an absolute door that opens after every negativity. Although the negative event is very destructive and psychologically negative at the moment, I think we can view it with gratitude later on, since it prevented worse things from happening. And maybe the things we want to happen will not end well for us. So everything depends on my point of view, in the end. Depends on what I give a value to…
For example, if I am not happy now, isn’t it because what I value is different from what I should be satisfied with ? If I were valuable for myself and my surroundings, I would be happy right now. Finally I would like to finish my speech with a metaphoric piece.

If I were a chameleon … I think… Just a fantasy.
I think, first I would like to wear my clothes in my favorite color. In the places I have been, I would be camouflaged in the districts, like everyone else. I would paint myself to the color of the place that I’m going. Maybe I would prefer to start the day in the green of my eyes. After morning I would go black with my coffee and turn into red with my favorite skirt. Blue in the workplace I should have been; if not, oddball was an action that looked forward to me at the doorway, I know. If everyone takes on the same color at the same time, that’s because of the rules decided by the community. An individual can’t just paint the color he wants, but in his home, of course, the situation changes in private. Everyone out there imitating each other like a mirror, I would find it exhausting, it would spoil the mood. Even if I were a shade of dark red, I would immediately draw attention. A lot of attention would be required, life would eventually become a competition that I would finish without reaching the red line. Is this race really necessary?
I should never have thought of being a different color, especially in my important meetings; the moment I thought about it, I might have immediately changed. I must have forgotten to think. I don’t like being judged. I’m also a little afraid. I guess to defend against a hundred pairs of eyes that will cover me is the reason I could not find enough strength in myself yet. It was better to be everyone else, it is what I think, for years … Sometimes I would be wrapped in my chains on the way home or even just asleep; with my transparency I could wander in my dreams, in my free lands where there is no one else. The possibility of “being different” would cross my mind from time to time.
Contrary to clichés, it is creativity that will untangle our knots, I was understanding slowly. Whenever I can be in the color that I want, without the influence of the existing environment, life is worth living.
I will start a new story. I should take steps with courage, then I should paint a little, but this time I am aware of my dark mentality and before all else, I should paint it to white, then take my freedom with the colors.
Because “self-transformation” starts with being unique and brave unlike everyone else, now I am sure. Because the change starts from your inner child’s cries to you, even if you don’t want to hear.
It starts with you…
Well, why do you need to be camouflaged and unable to wear your favorite colors at any time in a life that was promised only once?
Maybe one day you will become the new author of a set of rules, who knows.

Thank you for listening.

Who Is a Reader?

Gabriella Horváth

Hello, my name is Gabriella Horváth and I feel the need to talk about the topic of  reading. To be honest, I’m very disappointed. It is a terrible feeling that people judge me for my chosen free-time activity. And now I will talk about it in detail.

I’m a reader, so what does that actually mean? It means that you enjoy reading; when you have  some time you gladly pick up a book, and you like to talk about the books that you have read. But  what people often misunderstood is that we don’t read just anything; we carefully pick the books that we  want to read based on the genre, age rating, author, book cover, and synopsis. But when  someone says “book lover,” people don’t think of that. They think that we read ANYTHING, especially when it’s for school.

What they also frequently misunderstood is that we are not the nerdy, shy and innocent people we are so often assumed to be.  According to the stereotype, which is from teen movies, readers are the schools’ nerds, with big glasses and straight As, who have no life except studying and who have no friends. Well, if anyone knows a reader nowadays, they know that it’s not true. And it is very bad that there are some secret readers out there who don’t want to say that they love reading because they are afraid of others’ reactions. Personally, I’m a great student but I don’t study THAT much; I have friends, and I’m not shy and not a fully introverted person. I just enjoy escaping reality with books, falling in love with fictional  worlds and characters, being in a community with people who read the same books. It also can  be an opportunity to learn new words and expressions or to read in another language which easily can extend your vocabulary.

And what is an example of really great books like what I’m talking about? you might ask. Well, I’ve  read a lot of books from different genres BUT the books series that kind of changed me is the Throne  of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. It’s about a eighteen-year old assasin, named Celaena Sardothien, whose fate is very difficult. Her first love was killed; her master sent her to the salt mines of Endovier, which  meant instant death to everyone. Well everyone, except her. Then after a year in the salt mines, the  Crown Prince of Adarlan offers her freedom, with one condition: she has to win his father’s competition. Then, after she really thinks through Prince Dorian’s offer, she takes it, but that means that IF she  wins the competition, she has to be the King’s (whom she hates the most in the entire world) personal  assassin for five years. After they arrive in Adarlan, everything is very-very difficult for the young assassin:  she can’t use her real identity, she’s afraid of her own feelings, and a mysterious rival makes everything even more complicated. But what happens when someone starts to kill her competitors? Or when she finally makes friends? Or even when she falls in love with someone again? Well, the answers for that question are in the eight-book-long series. And it just keeps getting more and more dangerous, and we will meet a lot of new characters as well. But why did it change me? Because  Celaena went through a huge character development, during which we learned that you always have to believe in yourself, you can find friends and family members who will always have your back, and maybe you don’t have to be alone to do something, since accepting help from your loved ones is very important.

I hope that my speech helps those readers who are “ashamed” of their free-time activity to “come out” and be proud of being a reader. And I also wanted to help non-reader people understand us a bit better and not to judge us on the basis of a stereotype.

Why Another Planet?

Derin Sakarya

Hello everybody. Today I want to tell you about a subject that interested me so much while I watched videos about it during this quarantine period. And I hope that the topic I will speak about today will interest you.

I was watching programs about SPACE, and I realized that the more you learn about other planets and the entire universe, the more you want to watch and learn.  Although we know a lot of information as a general culture, like “How many planets are there?” or “Earth is the third planet,” I realized that we have a very long way to go.

One thing that surprised me when I was watching is that we haven’t found a real planet that provides the right combinations for us to live on. For example, let’s say we were searching other planets for features “a,” “b,” and “c” that exist on Earth. I noticed that there are no planets that provide all of these features at the same time. Some planets have “a” feature but not “b” or “c”; or they have “b” feature but not “a” and “b.” Even in the best available circumstance, we don’t have all of these features. I know that I confused your mind with these letters, so now let’s look at scientific data. 

Let’s start by examining some planets. You can think that SATURN is a great planet to move to. But it is a completely wrong thought. There are always hurricanes there which are three times faster than the hurricanes we are used to seeing in the world. And the pressure is ten times stronger! So you can be sure that it can’t be the future home of humanity. Now let’s look at MARS, the place almost everyone thinks we can live on. Firstly there is almost no atmosphere! The atmosphere of MARS is one hundred times thinner than our atmosphere. So it is very difficult to land on, because the methods don’t work. Knowing that sixty percent of the landing attempts made so far have failed, do you understand how risky it is for a human to land? Secondly, water, humans’ main resource, is not there, at least not in any accessible way! Also we must take into account that we cannot breathe on any planet and we require air. Just think how very much we complain even about wearing a mask for a short time under these pandemic conditions. 

For those who want to learn more about all these planets in the universe, I recommend that they do some research like I did, to understand all life as much as possible and thus to dive into dreams in their own minds. Space is not what we know as a general culture. Unless people learn the truth about space and put aside fictional dreams, they will continue to think that there is a second chance to live and to use the world as a disposable material. In order to get rid of this idea, I think we must be informed in the light of correct information and thus come to understand the value of the world. There is no second Earth, so I ask: why don’t we recognize the value of what we have in our hands instead of looking for other places? We don’t need to search for another planet for now, but we must take the necessary precautions now to avoid such a search in the future. I hope these thoughts have also made you think. Thank you for your attention.

These Magnificent Animals of the Deep

Dorina Dian

Hello, my name is Dorina Dian.

During my childhood, I used to watch documentaries about marine life, about sharks, whales, orcas, dolphins and so on. I learned swimming and snorkelling when I was around six, and after that, it was a tough task to get me out of the water. I’ve had a chance to see many seas, many coasts and marine animals so far in my life. So now, I want to tell you about a creature that is feared by most of humans, and has the main role in so many horror movies: The Shark.

For all this time, we have been raised in the faith that sharks are cruel, cold-blooded murderers. Monsters who kill everything that comes their way. But as we know, people kill way more sharks annually than sharks kill humans. 74-100 million sharks are being killed every year, and for what? For shark fin soup. Their fins are cut down, and they bleed to death, die in agony, suffer for no reason. It is still legal in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Makao, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia too. So I ask, who are the cold-blooded murderers? Who wipes out an entire species for some pathetic reason, for rich people’s fun? The most beautiful underwater creatures are slowly becoming extinct. And this is all on humans.

Most of you don’t know this, but sharks’ presence is vital in the oceans. Sharks, in fact, assist in maintaining the health of the reefs; they help to keep a balance in the fish community by hunting the predators that feed on small grazing fish. (The grazers, in their turn, keep the corals free from seaweed and parasites that would otherwise overgrow the reef.)

That is also a reason why we should shut these murders down. These kinds of people think that they stand above the laws of nature, that they can take whatever they want, and nothing can stop them. But we will send them a message. We are going to save sharks, with words and strikes, whatever it takes. We have to tell people what is going on, so we can stand together and achieve a ban on killing sharks.

As I speak now, at this very moment, there are thousands of sharks out there being slaughtered in brutal and inhumane ways. The only remaining question for us now is: will we let these horrors continue, or will we stand up for these magnificent animals of the deep?

The Importance of Reading

Why the Method of the Education System Is Not Effective

Angéla Berki

Hello everyone, readers, non-readers, students and teachers. My name is Angéla Berki and today I am discussing the topic of reading and compulsory reading.

We start school at a very young age, and we first learn how to read, write and calculate. These essential learnings accompany us until the end of our lives and help us to understand others and vice versa. Reading enables us to learn a powerful amount of new information and to get a line on anything we want.

But reading is not only about gaining information about a topic. It is a free-time activity, an enjoyable hobby that develops our vocabulary, our knowledge about the world, our emotional intelligence, and makes our imagination more vivid. We can experience a lot of things from a whole other perspective, and the work can make us think about questions we would never ask ourselves. Free-time reading means we visit places and worlds while our bodies stay still in a comfortable armchair. For some it is an escape from reality and a form of dealing with real-life problems. Others may just simply enjoy spending time reading a nice book with a cup of hot tea. At the same time, unfortunately, it can become addictive and obsessive. It may distract us from the tasks we are supposed to do. Our vision can get damaged if we look at the pages or the screen constantly, so it is important to take some short breaks, so our eyes can relax.

During school years, the students have to read several compulsory books besides the huge amount of other material in the curriculum. In Hungary these are usually old writings from famous authors. Compulsory readings have various topics, such as battles of Hungary or love and romance stories. These books educate us and show how the world was hundreds or even thousands of years ago. The language is also harder than today’s tongue. And often it is really boring with long descriptive pages and actionless scenes. Most of the students think of compulsory reading as a burden, thus their attitude toward it is not enthusiastic. Sometimes the books are written for adults; the students are too young to understand the real meaning and moral behind the letters. This way it is hard to catch their attention, though arousal of attention is not usually the main aim anyway. A lot of students try to find loopholes to get out of reading. This whole system is somehow connected to reverse psychology; the education system just doesn’t realize that the more we force something, the worse the attitude will be toward it. And it is not only for compulsory reading. Some hate even the thought of reading because they were introduced to the wrong volume, so they have a bad experience with it.

The main problem of the education system featuring compulsory reading is that it doesn’t even try to catch the students’ attention. Our attitude to old books is shallow. The past is the past, and we are moved by novellas that discuss topics that we are also interested in. Some may find Antigone by Sophocles exciting, but we are too young to appreciate a writing like that, unless it is taught in a lively and interesting way, with enough time (which it generally is not). If everyone could choose any book to read and write a book report about it, the teachers would have the chance to see things from students’ perspective. Of course, there is no solution that is good for everyone, but ancient books can be included in the curriculum as a topic of ancient literature. It is surely interesting to hear about, to read about, but not to read. 

I personally read a lot and love reading but hate the compulsory readings. They are not eye-catching and action-packed enough for me. And I am convinced that if everyone had a chance to read about what excites him or her, a lot more people would sit down in a comfortable armchair with a cup of hot tea.