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Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Why Did Hillary Clinton’s State Department Team Edit Bindi Irwin’s Essay On Overpopulation?


Bindi Irwin, the daughter of the late wildlife expert Steve Irwin, has made quite a name for herself over the last few years. She sings, she acts, and yes, she has a great interest in animals and the environment. She was recently asked to contribute to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s environmental journal but supposedly had her essay edited so heavily, she asked them to remove it from publication. What gives? 

In a recent article in Sydney, Australia’s Daily Telegraph, the 14-year-old Irwin explained that she was asked to write about why she chose to work in wildlife conservation for Clinton’s “e-journal.” The 1,000-word essay focused mostly on overpopulation and when the publication edited and returned it to her for review, she was shocked.

“It was completely different,” the paper quotes her as saying. “I hadn’t said anything they had put in… my words were twisted and altered and changed. I was a little bit shocked to tell you the truth.”

Irwin used an analogy of a children’s birthday party to describe Earth’s expanding population. She wrote:

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?

But apparently, the point about overpopulation was glossed over in the edit. Now, by “e-journal” we originally assumed they meant Clinton’s State.gov page , or just the U.S. Department of State site in general, but with a little digging we found the essay was supposed to be published as part of “Go Wild, Coming Together For Conservation,” a regular journal published last December on the State site as part of Clinton’s endangered species initiative. Perhaps the “political” statement was too much for a government-posted journal? Either way, it’s amazing to see how aware this teenager is, and becoming more so thanks to this situation.

“I was really sad and I think it was more frustration because I’m trying so hard to get the message across and I guess some people don’t want to listen,” said Irwin.

Her mother, Terri Irwin, said Bindi wrote to Clinton’s team saying, “What happened to freedom of speech? This is my opinion and I don’t want that edited out.” Thanks to News.com.au you can read Irwin’s original essay and the edited version. A spokesperson from the zoo Bindi has grown up in and around said, ”She said that while it was a good message that they were trying to convey in the publication, she just wanted her whole essay to be printed rather than just a snippet of it without the other points she wanted included.”

(via Yahoo)

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  • http://twitter.com/Rockybalboa211 Louis Gonzales

    God bless the whole Irwin Family! :D

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    Hmmm….I wonder if it has anything to do with portraying the human population as an endangered species so that abortion can be outlawed…anyone else jump to that conclusion? No? Just me then >.>

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=615281575 Bill Hedrick

    well as Hillary is well known as a rabid right wing pro-Lifer, you are probably right.

  • Jennifer D

    Read both essays….have to write to say I am both disgusted and un-surprised by anything Clinton and her gang does. They have no idea who they are supposed to be pandering to from moment to moment. Way to go, Bindi…for always being focused and true to what you believe!

  • http://www.facebook.com/anatasia.beaverhousen.7 Anatasia Beaverhousen

    Wow, I read both versions and I have no idea why they would changes so much of the original essay. If they didn’t want to use the piece, why bother to put Bindi’s name on it?

  • http://twitter.com/burntbythesea Amanda Allen Douglas

    holy crap, she’s 14?? I remember watching this little girl’s birth story on animal planet. Way to live like the legend your dad was, Bindi!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.hunt.773981 Jason Hunt

    She’s wrong about not eating food sources like crocodiles, kangaroos etc. Both have been in and around plague proportions at times over the last few years. Culling of populations is not a bad thing if it means providing food and ensuring numbers are at a point where the animals themselves aren’t starving or clearing out areas of other species of animals and plants.

  • Anonymous

    Having read the two, at least some of the edits are stylistic – trying to express her points with either more brevity or more clarity (e.g., defining “mass extinction”). Still, she should have the right to have her ideas expressed in her own words, and that would also be more honest than State editing it and presenting it as her own work.
    If they didn’t consider it suitable, they should have either refused it or asked her if she was willing to accept the edits, and only posted it if she said yes.

    But if they had decided not to post it, it wouldn’t be an infringement of freedom of speech. Not endorsing someone’s views is not the same as repressing them.

    And I can see why State would be wary of publishing an essay on overpopulation as something they supported. A lot of awful policies and ideologies have come from the idea that the best way to improve the world is to limit the number of people in it, from Malthus to China’s One Child Policy.

    The best way to deal with overpopulation is to improve people’s material well-being. As infant mortality falls and people become better-off, they almost invariably choose of their own accord to have fewer children. It’s happened that way in every part of the world that’s seen economic improvement, except for the Middle East – which indicates that the other half of addressing population growth is increasing women’s freedom. But the freedom to have lots of kids if they want to is equally important.

  • Simon Chui

    Also, kangaroos and other Australian “wildlife” have been eaten by Australian Aboriginals long before the arrival of European settlers. I put “wildlife” in quotes because the Aboriginals were known to have actively modified the environment to increase the population of food animals, for example by using fire to suppress tree growth. It’s not animal husbandry the way we understand it, but it was deliberate and effective. In contrast, the introduction of sheep, cattle, camels, and other exotic animals to Australia greatly damaged the existing ecosystems. If we want to talk about sustainably feeding the world’s population, Australians should probably eat more kangaroos.

  • http://www.facebook.com/why.no.52 Wonder Mike

    they really rooted around up their asses to pull out that shit. Bindi chose a consecutive approach (as one would expect from a conservationist) to over population. I’m a liberal, if you want to protect wildlife and save humanity’s future, the answer is to GTFO! If your venue holds 15 and 70 show up, you need a bigger venue. I chose the path of astrophysics to do my part to save humanity. When you run out of room for everything you need to live, you don’t try to see how long you can last with less necessities, you make more room. Let the plants and animals have Earth, Humans have an entire universe to live in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/why.no.52 Wonder Mike

    But I’m a romantic…

  • http://twitter.com/mildeabandon Eudora Quilt

    Surely those planets we are going to conquer are all hospitable to life yet conveniently uninhabited, so that we’ll be spared the ugly business of colonizing….

    You might be a romantic, but you are not very convincing as a liberal.

  • Anonymous

    I wish I could upvote this more than once. I’d like to popularize a poster that says “Keep Calm, and Educate Girls.”

  • Anonymous

    I wish I could upvote this more than once. I’d like to popularize a poster that says “Keep Calm, and Educate Girls.”

  • Anonymous

    You don’t sound like a liberal or a romantic. But boy do you come off as deluded. There is science, and then there is science fiction. If you think we will come anywhere near teraforming other planets before we trash this one then… well, we already established your level of delusion.

  • Velexia Ombra

    Not only was hers well written, it was better than the garbage they edited it into… and it didn’t have a typo in the second sentence (closer to home “that” you might think). I’m appalled.

    Honestly, that’s not even an edited version. It’s almost completely different.

  • whatelse

    Why? Because it’s hard to convert any adult to Christian. The only option is new – born – babies who got no choice of what their religious parents breed them into. From Pope down to priests, do you know any of them like condoms? But I’m sure you know they all love Africa. They love Africa because it is a perfect place for the ignorance to continue to grow strong. They don’t care if 10 babies have to die of hunger. Their church’s salvation can still ‘save’ at least 1!

  • Canisa

    Certainly I think the whole “Women should be able to choose how many children they have” idea probably made them choke on their own vomit a little. I honestly cannot believe that that notion is a controversial one; it seems supremely self-evident to me.

  • Canisa

    Quick note: A woman expressing an opinion gets two downvotes and no upvotes. A man agreeing with her gets seven upvotes and only one downvote – What the fuck?

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    I believe the language “rabid right wing pro-Lifer” is probably a clue.