Bindi in running for Dick Smith’s ‘Nobel Peace Prize’

Dick Smith has $1 million Wilberforce Award
Designed to raise awareness of overpopulation
Bindi Irwin is in the running

Australian businessman Dick Smith at his Terry Hills office in Sydney. He has said Bindi Irwin is in the running for his $1 million prize for raising awareness of overpopulation.

Bindi Irwin is in the running for Dick Smith’s $1 million “Nobel Peace Prize”. Picture: Channel 10

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BINDI Irwin’s rage against the US State Department over her scrapped essay will possibly pay off with the teen now eligible for a $1 million prize for speaking out about overpopulation.

Entrepreneur Dick Smith, whose rallying against perpetual growth sparked Bindi’s interest in the topic, said Bindi “could very well win” his $1 million Wilberforce Award, which he likened to the Nobel Peace Prize.

He has vowed to give the cash, with interest, to someone under 30 who impresses him through their ability to raise awareness of the issue.

This comes after yesterday revealed that 14-year-old Bindi had taken on, arguably one of the world’s most powerful women, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the issue.

The passionate wildlife campaigner pulled her 1000-word piece, which she was asked to pen for last month’s edition of the former first lady’s e-journal, in protest after Secretary Clinton’s department returned it for final approval with everything about population edited out.

Mr Smith said the Sunshine Coast teenager was the front-runner for his prize after writing her “absolutely excellent” essay.

“If she did more, and became well known communicating this around the world, she could indeed win the $1 million,” he said.

“She has to try to get more coverage in the media.

“I’m sure she knows about the award but I don’t think she’s out there trying to compete for it or anything.”

The retailer, who has published a book and made a documentary about population, said young campaigners should aspire to be like anti-poverty activist Bob Geldof, who organised charity super-concert Live Aid.

“I’m looking for someone who becomes famous around the world like Nelson Mandela for communicating that you can’t have perpetual growth,” he said.

“It could be Bindi because it’s just plain common sense and it’s incredibly important for future generations.

“Here you have this 14-year-old girl who knows that you can’t possibly be a conservationist if you’ve got human beings in plague proportions.”

He said contenders, who should try to become famous through their contribution to the debate, were unable to actually apply for the prize.

“It’s like the Nobel Prize. I present when I see someone and it will be pretty obvious when someone is eligible.

“It’s probably up to about $1.075 million now because the interest is going back in again so it’s growing all the time.

“The reward doesn’t go to the person to spend on a nice first-class trip around the world – it’s to be spent on furthering the campaign and communicating how we can have a fantastic world but we have to live with nature.”

Mr Smith said he contacted Bindi yesterday to congratulate her on promoting the population debate.

“I said `good on you – that’s a great effort’,” he said.

“(She said) it was fantastic and she’s really happy that she’s getting some coverage on this important issue.”

The daughter of the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin said she had been overwhelmed with support since the essay story went viral.

“It’s been a great reaction,” Bindi told

“I have absolutely nothing against Hillary Clinton. I personally admire her and the work that she’s done.

“Population is an issue no one wants to talk about and it seems to be very controversial (but) if you look at any conservation problem today it all stems from population.”

The US State Department has not responded to News Limited.

Follow Kristin Short on Twitter @itsKShort



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