There really are no words to express how heartbroken we are. Watching the ongoing bushfire crisis unfold here in Australia has been simply devastating. We’re certain that you, like us, are wanting to know exactly how you can help.
The obvious answer is donating, which if you’re in a financial position to do, is one of the most powerful actions. Here at Boody, we feel it's our responsibility to do something – which is why we’re donating $10,000 to two organisations we feel are doing great things for the cause. $5,000 will go to the Australian Red Cross and $5,000 will go to WIRES.
But there are many other ways you can make a difference, from simply spreading the word to leaving water out for fleeing animals. Here are 10 ways we all can help the devastating bushfire crisis taking place right now in this beautiful land we call home.
1. Donate some money
It’s the obvious one, but donating money really is the most impactful way to help with the current bushfires crisis. With such an initial outpouring of physical donations (clothing, food etc.), the message now is that a monetary donation is the best way to go.
If you’d like to show your support to the firies, you can donate to the NSW Rural Fire Service, Victoria’s Country Fire Authority and the South Australian Country Fire Service. To contribute to the victims and their families, consider donating to the Australian Red Cross.
If you’d like to share some of your donations with the animals impacted by the heartbreaking bushfires, WIRES is a fantastic organisation to direct your funds. There are many other organisations such as The Rescue Collective and the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital that will go towards helping the animals, so it’s worth taking some time to research the organisations you feel you’d most like to contribute towards.
Here at Boody, we previously donated over 1,500 unworn styles of underwear to bushfire victims. But we want to do more. That’s why, as mentioned previously, we’re now donating $10,000 to two organisations we feel are doing great things for the cause. $5,000 will go to the Australian Red Cross and $5,000 will go to WIRES.
Any amount, whether big or small, will make a difference. So if you’re in a position to donate, please do so. Even if it’s sacrificing one of your morning coffees and donating $5! If you’re not in a financial position to do so, there are a myriad of other ways to help with the Australian bushfire crisis. Read on to find out more.
2. Donate your time
If you can’t donate money, donating your time can be just as helpful during this crisis period. Check Foodbank’s website and social media for an up-to-date list of what’s needed in your area. Foodbank is made up of volunteers, so your time would be valuable to them. Just make sure you register your interest first because a bit of training is required before getting started.
Training is also required to volunteer for the Red Cross, so it’s worth searching for a role that’s right for you before filling out an online application to register your interest in helping out with humanitarian efforts related to the Australian bushfires.
There are also ways to donate your time without needing any training. Find A Bed is a volunteer-run initiative that helps match those displaced by the fires with members of the public offering a temporary place to stay – or even just somewhere to have a shower. Visit the website to sign up.
WIRES is also desperate for more volunteers to help build possum boxes and are running a working bee in the garage of a Woolloomooloo business in Sydney for a few days this week and next.
Thursday 9 January: 1pm to 9pm
Friday 10 January: 1pm to 6pm
Saturday 11 January: 12pm to 5pm
You can join for as many days and hours as you like and water and snacks will be provided. It's essential that you contact Health Felton on 0404 432 732 to confirm dates and times you're available.
The location is: Rear lane garage entrance of 122 Cathedral Street, Woolloomooloo.
Learn more about becoming a volunteer to help wildlife with WIRES.
Remember, small actions can be hugely meaningful in times like these. Even if it’s turning up at a local refuge to make a meal or a cup of tea.
3. Donate non-perishable food
Although the messaging now has shifted towards financial contributions, there are still organisations needing other necessities such as non-perishable food. Foodbank is currently accepting donations of non-perishable food and other essential grocery items at their warehouses around Australia.
Items in high demand:
Good quality tinned foods and meals (with ring pulls)
Pasta, rice and noodles
Grab-and-go foods like muesli bars
Head to the Foodbank website to find your nearest Foodbank warehouse to donate unwanted non-perishable food.
4. Help our wildlife
You’ve undoubtedly seen the horrific images of our vulnerable native wildlife being injured, burnt and killed by the devastating bushfires rippling across the continent. According to WIRES, it’s impossible to know exactly how many animals have perished and it will be many months before the impact on wild populations can be better understood, but ecologists at Sydney University have estimated over 800 million animals have been affected in Australia since September.
WIRES is a great organisation to donate money to help rescue sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. You can do this by supporting the WIRES Emergency Fund. You can also call the Rescue Line on 1300 094 737 or report a rescue by filling out the WIRES online Rescue Form.
Aside from donating, there are other ways you can help our wildlife. Please see below some advice via WIRES on how we can assist wildlife during and after the fires.
- Leave out bowls of water for animals and birds escaping fires – use shallow bowls with a few sticks or stones on one side to allow smaller animals to escape should they fall in.
- Please keep cats indoors and dogs under control so that wildlife can flee safely through backyards and properties.
- Keep a cardboard box and towel in the boot of your car in case you find an injured animal so you can safely contain it without putting yourself in any danger.
- If the animal has been burnt, do not attempt to feed it, just wrap it loosely, ideally in a towel or cotton fabric and wait for a rescuer or for transport to the nearest vet.
- If you can safely take an injured animal to your nearest vet please do so, as it will require an urgent assessment. Please also call WIRES on 1300 094 737.
- Please do not approach injured snakes, flying-foxes, large macropod (adult roos or wombats), raptors (eagles or hawks) or monitors (goannas) as these species must be rescued by trained specialists – please call WIRES for rescue assistance on 1300 094 737.
- If you have a swimming pool in the bushfire area please drape something over the edge of the pool so that animals have a surface to grab hold of and climb out such as heavy-duty rope or a piece of timber secured at one end to something heavy outside the pool. Check your pool twice daily.
5. Follow drought restrictions
During any drought, it’s important to follow relevant restrictions – so it’s more vital than ever during the current bushfire crisis. There are many reasons for this, but some of the key ones are that firefighters need maximum water for the work they're doing trying to contain the fires, but also more generally because we are in a drought that has worsened the conditions of the bushfires.
Check your local water restrictions online and ensure you and your family are following them (for example, Level 2 restrictions currently apply in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawarra).
Water restrictions focus on the outdoor use of drinking water, but there are some indoor water uses that are subject to restrictions such as filling indoor swimming pools and water features and operating car wash businesses in shopping centre car parks.
6. Spread the word
The internet is a great tool to help spread the word both nationally and globally. Whether you run a brand or business or simply have a Facebook account with friends across the world, use whatever platform you have to get the message out there. Even if you can’t donate much, the ripple effect of you spreading the word could lead to other donations that lead to more significant amounts being raised.
Another great way to help get the message out there is to sign an online petition. There are several petitions currently running that urge all political leaders in Australia to take urgent, immediate action on climate change to help protect Australians from the current bushfire risk, as well as preventing future fires from developing.
7. Join a movement
Digital support is, of course, fantastic, but showing up physically to make a difference is often even more powerful. Joining a non-violent rally, march or protest is a great way to voice your concerns about the environment as well as encouraging others to evaluate the impact their everyday lives are having on the environment. These protests also help lobby the government, which is essential right now.
There are a range of rallies currently being organised, so keep an eye out on social media to see where the nearest one is happening to you. Don’t be shy… take a protest sign and have your voice heard!
8. Donate blood
If donating money, food or clothing isn’t possible for you, then perhaps you’d consider donating blood. The Red Cross’ blood donation service, Lifeblood, has said they are going to need more donations as the bushfire crisis worsens, as donor centres across New South Wales have been forced to close.
It's estimated that New South Wales and Queensland make up over half of Australia's total blood supply. Red Cross Blood Service spokesperson Helen Walsh said:
"With blood being a critical resource, we simply cannot afford to take a wait and watch approach and are calling for donors to please roll up their sleeves, now, in order to bolster the nation's blood stocks."
Find out whether you’re eligible to donate and book up now.
9. Consider climate change
While politics should generally be kept to the side when dealing with a national disaster, it’s hard to avoid the subject of climate change entirely when discussing the bushfire crisis. Especially once the fires are completely put out, the noise dies down and everyone goes back to living their lives, the subject of climate change and ways we can lower our carbon footprint should be kept at the forefront to prevent future environmental disasters.
Here at Boody, we’re of the belief that the actions we take on earth have a direct impact on the planet and its inhabitants, which is why we must all do our bit. From reducing waste and leaving the car at home to using less water and energy, there are countless ways we can all play a part in living a more sustainable life.
10. Keep the conversation going
It has been so heartwarming to see the outpouring of support both nationally and globally for the damage and devastation the bushfires have caused. But what’s so important is that when these fires are eventually put out and we move into the cooler months, the conversation about why this happened and how we need to prevent it from happening again needs to take place.
For this to happen, the conversation needs to continue. We need to keep talking about it across social media, blogs and in person. We need to explore ways we can all band together to do our bit to help out with the restoration and recovery of the lives and homes affected, but also, make simple but powerful changes to our lives that will make a huge difference when it comes to climate change.
Stay strong, Australia. We’re all in this together.