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$1Million Wilberforce Award – Is there a Kiwi up for it?

PRESS RELEASE - For Immediate Release

8th August 2012

$1Million Wilberforce Award – Is there a Kiwi up for the Challenge?

Dick Smith’s $1 Million Wilberforce Award Unclaimed by the Aussies!

You don’t become one of Australasia’s leading entrepreneurs by not having a firm understanding of the big picture challenges, trends and opportunities. With access to the world’s leading scientists, environmentalists and business leaders, Dick Smith understands the risks and opportunities better than most. Hence, he is looking for a young person to help educate people of the physical limits and alternatives to our current consumption driven, manic depressive model of economics.

Smith launched the Wilberforce Award in Australia well over a year ago and so far has been unable to find someone worthy of claiming the million dollar Award. The $1 million award will go to someone under the age of 30 who can impress Smith by becoming famous through his or her ability to show leadership in communicating an alternative to our population and consumption growth-obsessed economy. The person must be able to demonstrate a viable and strong alternative to our current growth based model that is currently reliant on increasing populations and the unsustainable use of energy and resources.

In the 19th Century empires were built on slave labour, William Wilberforce fought to end slavery and economies continued to flourish, hence the name of the award. Smith believes we need brave people like Wilberforce to encourage a new generation of clear-thinking and inspiring young leaders.

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“It has become obvious to me that my generation has over exploited our wonderful world – and its younger people who will pay the price. Like many people my age, I’ve benefited from a long period of constant economic and population growth – we are addicted to it. But sooner or later this consumption growth will have an end. We appear to be already bumping against the limits of what our planet can sustain and the evidence is everywhere to see.”

“Right now I believe we could be sleepwalking to catastrophe because we are failing to both acknowledge that there are limits to growth in a finite world and to prepare for a more sustainable way of organising our economy.”

Dick Smith will be in Queenstown Friday 14th September for the Tomorrow’s Business Forum sharing his passion and insights for the future. Also joining Smith will be Young New Zealander of the Year, Sam Johnson and business commentator Rod Oram.

Proceeds of this event go toward the Queenstown Lakes community initiative Shaping our Future which is a collabrative community engagement project to help shape the district's future.

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