Australian Bushfires: How You Can Help
January 9, 2020 10:58 AM
Since last fall, devastating bushfires have ravaged New South Wales and other parts of Australia, affecting almost 15.6 million acres of land, destroying thousands of houses, displacing thousands of people, and killing millions of animals. In the wake of destruction, brave firefighters, community leaders, and everyday people have stepped up to do their part to support those impacted by the fires. That includes one of our Asia-Pacific Leaders, Alice Mahar.
Alice is the Founder and Director of the Corner Store Network, an organization that strives to protect the future for people and the planet through food preservation and climate action. In response to the fires, she and her team have organized local community efforts ranging from community-led panel discussions with climate and disaster management experts to relief fundraisers to food preservation and donation drives to developing plans for recovery. We reached out to Alice to hear how her organization was helping support relief and recovery efforts.
“This crisis is a marathon,” Alice said. “Many of these fires have been burning since November and our hottest weather is still to come. The Corner Store Network certainly sees this as the frontline of the climate crisis and we are galvanized for action, not just today and tomorrow, but for the months and years to come.
“The Corner Store Network continues to run community preserving days, where we are putting a stockpile of preserves aside to donate to relief efforts. Preserving days are run with donations of excess produce from within the local community and limits what ends up in landfills. Volunteers spend the day preserving the produce into jams, chutneys, and pickles, which we then sell to keep the program sustainable and also donate to local food banks, and now, fire relief. It’s inspiring to see that these days have also become an opportunity for volunteers to talk through the devastation they are feeling, support one another, and offer ideas as to how we can further our efforts.”
Alice’s strong belief in the power of people to take simple actions to create change is pushing her forward during this arduous relief and recovery effort. The Corner Store Network is currently working to offset the immense amount of carbon the fires have released into the atmosphere by planting 20,000 trees in partnership with a carbon forestry program in Timor-Leste. “The beauty of trees is that they can be planted in another country and still be contributing to removing carbon from the atmosphere that was released in Australia.”
You can do your part to fight the Australian bushfires and support the recovery of affected areas by donating to the following organizations:
General Disaster Relief
Givit is a nonprofit that works with local charities, community groups, the state government and councils to help them obtain exactly what items they need for their communities. You can make a donation here.
Australian Red Cross
The Australian Red Cross is working around the clock to aid those affected by the fires. Visit https://fundraise.redcross.org.au/drr to make a donation now, and follow them on Twitter @RedCrossAU to see how they are disbursing funds.
If you’re able, please do what you can to help.