4BC - Fairfax Radio Network

Bindi Irwin's essay: Original

Original essay submitted by Bindi Irwin to the US Department of State's e-Journal:

I have chosen to devote my life to being a Wildlife Warrior, speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves. Being a Wildlife Warrior means to dedicate your life to making the world a better place for future generations.

Often when people hear the word 'conservation' they think of little woodland creatures. Actually, conservation is ultimately about us: people.

I believe that most problems in the world today, such as climate change, stem from one immense problem which seems to be the 'elephant in the room' that no-one wants to talk about. This problem is our ever expanding human population. We are experiencing Earth's sixth mass extinction right now. Keep in mind that the previous five were caused by things like asteroid impacts or volcanic eruptions.

I once had a friend who lived to be 104 years old. Ruth was a remarkable woman who experienced so much in her life time. When she was born there was no such thing as sliced bread, zippers or even plastic. Ruth did not see a car until she was ten years old. However, to me the most astonishing fact is that when Ruth was born there were 1.5 billion people on the planet. Ruth died a few years ago at age 104 and today there are over 7 billion people on the planet.

In one woman's lifetime, the human population increased by more than 5 billion people. These are truly overwhelming figures.

I must ask the question, how is it possible that our fragile planet can sustain these masses of people?

Think of it this way. Pretend for a moment that I'm having a party, inviting 15 of my closest friends. I've rented a room big enough to fit 15 people, I've bought 15 sandwiches for each of my friends to eat, and I have put together 15 party bags, one for each friend.

My party is about to start, and I hear a knock at the door. My friends are here!

Only, when I open the door, 70 of my friends are standing there wanting to come to the party!

What do I do? My room is only big enough to fit 15, with 70 we won't have any room to move and dance. I don't have enough food. Do I divide the sandwiches among the 70 people? But then everyone will still be hungry. What about the party bags? Do I only give the party bags out to my closest friends? Isn't that unfair to everyone else?