Wondering how to help in Australia’s Bushfire Crisis?
I’m interrupting the normal happy-go-lucky vibe of this blog for a moment to share with you all some of the terrifying and terrible events occurring at the moment in Australia as we are in the midst of our worst ever bushfire crisis. Though I’m not one to usually write on this blog in anger and helplessness, I felt I had to write this post so that you all know exactly what is going on in Australia right now.
As an Aussie, it’s extremely normal heading into summer to be wary of our dense and often dry bushland. Fire ban days are common throughout the summer period and most of us are either at the beach or lying in front of our air conditioners trying to get cool.
This bushfire season, though, feels totally different. Australia is currently in the grips of the worst, most devastating bushfires in our country’s history. We’ve struggled through years of drought which has dried our land into the perfect fodder for fires to spiral quickly out of control and combined with warmer temperatures and constantly changing winds, unfortunately we have the motherload of a bad fire season ahead.
As I write this on New Year’s Eve 2019, there are 4000 people stranded on a beach in Victoria waiting to jump in the ocean when a raging bushfire arrives to take claim of the land. One of my best friend’s houses in the Blue Mountains has been under threat for weeks and he’s bene evacuated and returned home three times now. The nearby Govetts Leap lookout in Blackheath which is one of my favourite spots in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Blue Mountains area is utterly ravaged by fires with so much damage to flora and fauna that it will take years to recover.
Sydney’s air quality has been consistently up there with the worst in the world over the last month. As an asthmatic, I’ve barely been able to go outside and enjoy what is usually my favourite time of the year in our country. A forty-minute trip to my place of work creates a level of anxiety that I will be unable to breathe, and I’ve constantly got my Ventolin inhaler in my hand. Last week I was nearly hospitalised for respiatory issues.
But my breathing issues are hardly the peak of the damage. Firefighters and civilians have lost their lives. Our unique Australian wildlife has been decimated with estimates that nearly 500 million animals have been killed in these unprecedented fires.
In short, this fire season feels terrifying and many Australians feel utterly helpless to do anything about it with a government that can barely utter the words ‘climate change’ and with a Prime Minister who skips the country for holiday in Hawaii whilst the country burns.
To add insult to injury, tonight Sydney’s famous New Year’s Eve fireworks will go ahead despite desperate please from people far and wide to reconsider the display in solidarity with those around our country who are fighting fires, who have lost homes and who are suffering through unbreathable air.
Australians are a pretty easy-going bunch, but I can tell you right now that we are angry. Angry at a government whose lack of empathy and lack of action on the growing climate emergency makes us not only a laughing stock on the world stage but also now puts Australians everywhere in grave peril. Angry that instead of showing leadership, our Prime Minister disappeared for a holiday in Hawaii and when he finally announced he was coming back, it took him days to return.
I compare his leadership with the beautiful way NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern handled the Christchurch terror attack – she understood that it was her job to be present, to mourn with those who had lost loved ones and to show empathy for their plight. In contrast, both our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian have shown no leadership either from a policy point of view or through a human lens – proving that both of them are totally unfit to lead their governments.
So, now more than ever, it is critical that each and every one of us does our bit to counter the climate emergency and to help each other out. That means donating to our fire services and wildlife conservation services to help those in immediate need following the dreadful toll the fires have taken, but also to make changes in your daily life that can affect climate change. These might include cutting your use of plastics, reducing meat intake, offsetting your carbon when flying and taking public transport instead of driving amongst many others.
If you’re an Australian, then you should also definitely write to your local member to demand they fight harder to make policy changes to combat climate change.
For any readers wanting to donate to charities supporting bushfire victims and wildlife protection in Australia, please check out the links below:
- NSW Rural Fire Service
- CFA (Victorian Fire Service)
- CFS (South Australian Fire Service)
- Queensland Fire & Rescue
Wildlife and Animals Donations
- RSPCA NSW
- RSPCA VIC
- RSPCA SA
- WIRES (NSW)
- Wildlife Victoria
- Help Save Koalas Fund
- Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
Survivor Support Donations
- Red Cross Relief and Recovery Appeal
- St Vincent de Paul
- Donate to the families of firefighters Samuel McPaul, Geoffrey Keaton and Andrew O’Dwyer who were killed fighting fires in NSW
Support Local Business Campaigns
Thanks for reading – I know this was a different type of blog post from usual and probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but I felt I had to write something given the seriousness of the current events in Australia. Hopefully you’re reading this and are able to help out in some way shape or form.