The Australian wildfire crisis – how you can help

Australia is facing one of the most destructive and catastrophic bushfire seasons in the past decade. Peoples lives have been taken and so many are still in danger, over 1.25 billion animals are estimated to have been lost since the fires started in September, plant biodiversity is rapidly being lost and the landscape will be scarred. The devastation is evident and the crisis is ongoing, but you are not helpless – here is how you can help.

Watching the crisis continue in Australia makes me physically nauseous with sorrow and grief. Seeing koalas clutch at water bottles being fed to them by firemen, the charred remains of wallabies caught in wire fencing trying to flee, and families holding each other gathered at beaches for hopes of refuge fills me with such immense sadness. While it is important to appreciate the gravity and sadness of the situation, it is also important to rally in this time of need and help however we can. Whether you have been affected directly or indirectly, from near or far, we need to pull together to help the immediate need as well as restore what has been lost when the fires clear.

Sometimes it can be easy to think that “throwing money at a problem doesn’t make it go away”, but when it comes to donating money to charity it is hard to thrown money in the wrong direction and it really makes a difference. Financial aid in the midst of disaster is usually the main way in which anyone can help. The links below will connect you to well established charities and sites that offer donation protection guarantees, and you can help from as little as $1/£1. The causes below are as diverse as the hardships Australia will face in the wake of these bushfires, so please find a cause (or multiple!) that you connect to and give to those in need.

WWF’s Australia appeal
WWF is providing a huge number of services dedicated to Australia, including: urgent care for wildlife, supporting the response recovery teams, forest and habitat restoration when the fires end, and will work on cultivating habitat connectivity and towards future-proofing Australia. Read more and donate here

Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund
Donations are being taken through the general disaster relief fund which helps those affected by many natural emergencies such as floods and cyclones including the ongoing bushfires. The Red Cross have a register.find.reunite service which helps to reunify those that have been separated in the fires, and support evacuation centres and recovery hubs. Donate here.

One Tree Planted
The Vermont based non-profit is already mapping out long-term restoration projects while the fires are ongoing to hit the ground running, and are forecasting to restore over 6 million trees across Australia. As little as $1 plants 1 tree, this is a great cause that shows even the smallest donations can make a big difference. Donate to One Tree Planted here.

Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island is a south Australian inlet which was considered a sanctuary that provided the local koala population refuge from the devastating chlamydia epidemic that ravaged the mainland population of koalas. The island is also the only known habitat for seventeen endemic sub-species of birds and the Kangaroo Island Dunnart (which is a dark grey mouse-sized marsupial).
The GoFundMe page linked is run by Sam and Dana Mitchell who have run the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park and Aquarium for the past 6 years and have raised over $1,000,000 so far. Donate to the GoFundMe page here.
To donate to the Mayor’s relief fund here

NSW Rural Fire Service
Celeste Barber, an Australian comedian and actor, started a fundraiser for the NSW Rural fire services on Facebook, and it has become the largest ever created on the platform raising more than $41 million. NSW Rural Fire Service has said it will consult its members and analyse where the strategically spend the extraordinary influx of money, directly the money towards fire victims as well as to the fire service itself. The online fundraising campaign will be distributed to other interstate equivalents to help them also fight the blazes. Donate directly to NSW Rural fire service here, or through Facebook using Celeste’s fundraiser here.

WIRES
NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Services is a well established service that works to preserve Australian wildlife, rescuing and rehabilitating tens of thousands of animals each year. While summer is a frantic time for wildlife rescue each year, calls to WIRES increased 14% this season with their volunteers attending over 3,300 rescues. Donate to WIRES here.

This is not an extensive list of charities you can donate to, but please bear in mind when donating to other causes that, unfortunately, in times of crisis scammers take advantage of good intentions. It is important to research the organisation/fund that you are donating to to ensure legitimacy. Check if the platform guarantees payment protection, check the pages customer support team is reachable and others experience of using the service, and check the fine print.

If you are unable to donate then speak to those around you, your family, your friends, your co-workers, people on the bus if you want! Share it on social media if you have accounts, the more people that speak up the more likely we are as a global community to take action to help, but also to put an immediate focus on the factors causing the fires to become more frequent and damaging. While climate change does not cause bushfires, it does make them worse. JVN said jokingly in his latest podcast “Is it going to be until all our forests are on fire and we’re actively swimming in a world that is nothing but ocean before we start to get us all involved?!” – hopefully not…

If this article has been helpful please share with others to raise awareness and raise funds.