The Emperor’s New Clothes is an old fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen about an Emperor who is deceived by two swindlers who pretend to dress him in the finest suit of clothes, while providing him with no clothing at all. They get away with this by saying the ‘fabric’ is invisible to anyone unfit for his position or ‘hopelessly stupid’. The Emperor falls for this, as do his advisers, and he parades naked down the street. The townsfolk, not wishing to appear stupid either, say nothing. Finally the nonsense is exposed by a child in the crowd who yells out “The Emperor has no clothes”.
I was reminded of this story when I read that 14 year old Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, had an essay she had been asked to write for US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s e-journal drastically edited before it was to be published.
Why the censorship? Well Bindi was asked to write 1000 words on why she had chosen to devote her life’s work to wildlife conservation. The article was to be part of Secretary Clinton’s Endangered Species Initiative. Bindi wrote her 1000 words mostly about global overpopulation. It came back with the parts about population edited out.
Pity. Because if we genuinely want to help the world’s endangered species, we need to tackle the rapid population growth which has seen the world’s population more than treble from 2 billion to 7 billion in the last hundred years. An Endangered Species Initiative which won’t talk about population is an Emperor wearing no clothes. And it took a 14 year old to point it out.