It’s been a terrifying and tragic start to the new year. And while you might feel helpless, there are some practical things you can do to help that will really make a difference.
By Richard Di Natale
There are no adequate words to describe the loss and grief that many people right around Australia are experiencing right now.
If you're like me, you'll have feelings of helplessness as you sit and wait for news about the latest fires, sadness on hearing that another town has been burnt down, and deep heartbreak on learning that millions of animals have died and thousands upon thousands more are burnt, starving, or searching for water.
But if you are wondering what you can do right now, here are some practical ideas that will really make a difference:
1. Reach out
You likely know someone who has been affected by the fires, let them know they are not alone and that you are there for them. Let them know you are grateful that they are alive and safe.
2. Share your thoughts
Australia is facing an unprecedented climate crisis and these bushfires and extreme heatwaves are a result of that. The climate emergency will only get worse unless the Morrison government takes serious action now. By sharing your stories about the bushfires and having conversations with your family and friends you are helping others understand the impact of the climate crisis and the need for urgent action.
3. Use your social media for good
Think of your social media as a loudspeaker to your own community. Use your voice to amplify and share stories about the impacts of the climate crisis and encourage people you know to take action too.
If you are fortunate enough to be in a position that you can make a donation, take some time to consider where you want to give your money. As well as the relief effort and support for our firefighters, you could consider organisations that do critical work supporting climate science, organisations that support First Nations people to protect country, or organisations that are looking after injured wildlife in the wake of the fires.
5. Volunteer your time
Spend some of your spare time volunteering with an organisation that will be helping to repair and rebuild communities and restore the environment. If you are not near an area with organisations that are part of the relief efforts, there are plenty of other ways to get involved. Volunteering your time with your local tree planting group or helping to clean up rubbish at your local park or beach are also contributing towards making our planet healthier and more resilient.
6. Go to a rally
Make your voice heard on the issues you care about by attending local rallies in your area. The more people that turn up and demand change the closer we are to seeing that change happen.
7. Sign our climate emergency petition
Enough is enough. Scott Morrison’s government has been ignoring the impacts of climate change, while all around them the threat gets worse. That’s why the Greens are calling on the Australian Parliament to declare a climate emergency – and we need your voice to amplify our message. Sign the petition and find out more here.
Every little bit helps to start rebuilding communities. If we all do our part we can make this the world we want and deserve. I hope you will be part of this journey with us this year.
In the meantime, stay strong, stay safe and look after each other.