Self Assessment + Video Links

No matter how many times I stand up to speak in front of an audience, no matter how flawlessly a speech goes or how practiced I am, I will find a way to mentally pick it apart afterwards but I’ll do my best to be as objective as one can be in an inherently somewhat biased self assessment. My speech on Thursday definitely wasn’t flawless and I wasn’t as well practiced as I’d like to have been, but given the fact that I flowed my speech and gave it based off signposting, I thought it went alright. I’d have liked to spend time talking about where my information was from, however I feel I still was able to convey information in a credible manner and I doubt the audience I had was highly invested in fact checking what I was saying. In the future I think I’ll devote more time to organizing my speech so that room is left for verbally citing sources as well as constructing clearer transitions and a conclusion.


Also wifi in Gillson is a lie and should never be relied on but the rehearsal videos finally uploaded & are attached below.


Speech #1 Sources

Mainly my source material consists of BBC statistics published on Middle Eastern environmental problems as well as a few articles from the EPA, (I’m trying to make use of it while it still exits,) as well as random things I remember from econ classes and researching environmental policy over the last couple years.

Speech #1 Write Out

Hello, I’m here to talk about how women on bikes will save the world. Well, if not save it, at least make a massively positive impact on a region of the world that, given the current geopolitical climate, could certainly use a little saving. Female bikers in the Middle East are growing from a band of brave revolutionaries into a larger movement and the social, environmental and economic implications of this movement are massive. Not only are these women defying cultural norms and leading a force of female empowerment in an unlikely area, they have the potential to affect change across the region, the specific impacts of which are threefold.

The first is of course that of the advancement of women’s rights, expansion of expectations and acceptance of female independence. In most middle eastern countries, particularly in more rural areas, it isn’t broadly acceptable for women to travel under their own power. In Saudi Arabia, women aren’t legally able to drive, but groups of female bikers are growing and pushing back against the general message from the government, church and culture that they ought only to use their bikes for “entertainment” meaning they only ought to bike around in circles. In the United Arab Emirates women’s biker teams are forming, despite conservative culture and potential harassment. The same goes for Egypt and Iran, despite the fact that there are those within the Muslim faith that interpret Sharia law as indicating that women cannot ride bikes. Women around the world are making the decision that if men can ride bikes, they can and should too, not only for logistics, convenience, health and financial responsibility, but for independence and advancement.

Now as a die hard feminist I could go on for ages about the myriad reasons women gaining equality in any context is wildly beneficial, but for the sake of expediency, I’ll stick with two. Now, if you weren’t before, I’m sure that after a semester at USF  you’re all at least somewhat environmentally aware and have at least a basic understanding of the impacts of environmentally friendly transportation alternatives. Unfortunately, the bulk of the rest of the world doesn’t have the advantage of a USF education and immersion in environmental protection initiatives. As a result, many of the major metropolitan areas of the world are incredibly detrimental to the environment, contributing to climate change and negatively impacting the health of their inhabitants. For many of the cities in the Middle East, Tehran, Cairo, Dubai, transportation pollution is the worst offender. But with studies showing again and again the benefits of biking outweighing the harms of exposure to air pollution and in fact decreasing those harms the more people bike, biking in cities, making it un-gendered and acceptable for all in metropolitan workforces does not have a disadvantage. The cheapest, easiest and potentially most impactful way to decrease the harmful effects of transportation pollution is making the switch to bikes. Cairo is largely considered to be one of the most polluted cities in that part of the world, Dubai is not much better. Through the end of 2016, Tehran was choked in a thick, hazy smog that claimed hundreds of lives, similar to the fog that recently descended over Beijing, similar to the smog that enveloped Los Angeles in the ’70s, similar to the smog that covered London in the ’50s. And if history is anything to judge by, those who lost their lives in the smog are just the beginning, as the number of those who’s deaths are related to the smog might not be understood until years to come. The environment issues in the Middle East are quickly transforming from a problem to an urgent crisis. A change needs to be made now, and allowing a large component of the workforce use an environmentally friendly and healthfully beneficial means of transportation would quickly kick that change into gear.

But what about the money? The monetary benefits of riding bikes are easy to track and understand, but in the instances of heavily polluted cities, those benefits can be much more far reaching than one might expect. Of course savings in fuel are an immediate impact, as are those of car insurance payments and car maintenance payments. But biking can, in the long run, save money in healthcare costs. Lets say every man, woman and child in Tehran who possibly could suddenly switched to biking. Consider all the money saved that would have otherwise gone to respiratory illness treatment, all the money that will be saved from going to treat a heart condition, diabetes, joint problems and the laundry list of health concerns alleviated by biking.  Not only do people tend to be healthier by biking, but improving the overall living conditions of a city make the population of that city healthier. So not only will day to day living and healthcare costs be lower for bike riders, but, as any econ 101 class will probably teach, the chain reaction of helping a nations middle and lower class workforce will create a net benefit nation wide. More prosperous middle class with more liquid assets equates to a higher GDP, higher investment rate, the list goes on. And all of this on top of the huge potential growth from giving women accessible and independent transportation, allowing them greater access into the workforce. The biking movement in the Middle East is bringing equality, hope of better health and massive potential financial growth. Maybe women on bikes won’t actually save the world. Maybe they will. All I know is that they’re doing a pretty damn good job so far.


Presentation #1 Outline

Intro: The birth of a movement

-Feminism in the Middle East

-Environmental harms & solutions

-Economic impacts of alternative transportation

1. Women on Wheels

a. Women in the workforce

b. Independent transportation

c. Defying cultural norms

2. Growing environmental concerns

a. The impact of transportation

b. The impact of clean transport

c. Changing trends in workforce transport

3. The economic ramifications

a. Lower cost of living

b. Middle class benefits

c. Greater fiscal stability

Conclusion: How biking will save the world

-Gender equality

-Environmental protection

-Monetary gain


Idea Tricycle. Because. There are three. So.

  1. Though, contrary to the belief of the incoming administration, hard and fast trickle down economics seldom completes its cycle of monetary trickle down, it’s impossible to assume that the impacts of said administration will fail to saturate across socioeconomic lines. Second perhaps only to the President himself, the person whose credibility has been questioned most recently and with the most fervor is the new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. Statistically bicycle usage within schools bears a correlation to the economic demographics of each school. Determining the credibility, or lack thereof, of Secretary DeVos will help determine possible shifts in public education culture, demographics, outlook, prospects and bicycle usage.

2. Greater gender diversity in a workforce stimulates greater development, innovation and production. With an ever worsening climate crisis, a relatively low GDP, societal, religious, and political turmoil, Egypt could use a healthy dose of innovation, diversification and environmentally friendly transportation alternatives. The growing trend of women on bikes is not only representative of the wind of change sweeping through Middle Eastern countries, pushing them forward towards greater standards of equality and acceptance, but signals the beginning of a movement that can begin to mend the climate impacts of major Egyptian cities.

3. For every possible action taken by humanity, there’s an attorney that specializes in litigating it when it eventually goes wrong. Cycling is no exception. The nature of biking, particularly in cities, lends itself to complicated arguments of liability when an injury occurs. In some cases the liability is held by the city, for irregularities or damages in roads and sidewalks resulting in a crash. In others, a driver may be found at fault and in others still, the cyclist themselves may be found accountable for damages. The moral I personally draw from every case of this kind that I’ve seen is HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE, but the legal processes surrounding any type of injury liability case are fascinating, and in the case of bike accidents, often high stakes.