Supporting those who’ve been devastated by the bushfire crisis is as easy as taking a holiday!

Now that much of the immediate fire danger across Australia has lifted and we’ve seen a bit of rain, with even more predicted, it’s time to get back to supporting and rebuilding the communities that have lost so much. Here’s what you can do!

Take a trip

The RFS have declared it safe to return to the NSW South Coast! Did someone say road trip?

Many of the towns and areas that have been affected by the fires rely on tourism to survive. It was a major reason why so many tourists still decided to visit these places over the Christmas break. Many people have completely lost their businesses and plenty others have severely suffered from the loss of trade during what should be the busiest period of the year. 

One of the best ways to help these people get back on their feet is by visiting them! Eat at their restaurants and cafes, drink at their pubs, stay in the motels and campsites, buy their petrol and local products. Your tourist dollar is crucial to the rebuilding of these communities. Plus there’s still plenty of beauty to discover! Just take a look at the good folks of Kangaroo Valley.

 

The Instagram account, @emptyesky is encouraging Aussies to take a road trip to the fire-affected areas, visit the businesses that have been affected and support the local economy. Make a list of all the businesses in the area of your road trip and see how many you can support and tick off!

Volunteer

Now that the immediate danger of fire has lifted and it’s safe to return to the areas affected, there’ll be lots of helping hands needed to clean up the mess that’s been left. 

There’s plenty of organisations helping with the recovery effort of the fires. Some organisations have been inundated with volunteer applications, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sign up to help out in the future. 

  • Help injured wildlife through WIRES or Wildlife Victoria
  • Help communities directly through Blazeaid or Red Cross
  • Live in the city? Volunteer with Foodbank and help donated resources reach those who need them
  • If you’re a really brave and special soul there’s always the most important job of all – volunteer firefighter. If you don’t want to sit idly and helplessly by the sideline next time fire sweeps across our nation, apply, get trained up and help fight on the frontlines.
Keep checking in on people

The mental toll of these fires will be mammoth. For the people who came face to face with fire, especially those firefighters who have been battling flames for months on end. For the people who lost their homes, livelihoods or loved ones. For the local Indigenous people who have lost such a large part of who they are. For the people who spent days in fear in evacuation centres and on beaches without power and information. For the people who watched this tragedy unfold from the sidelines without any power to stop it. For the crisis and emergency services personnel who continue to manage this disaster with incredible courage and tenacity. And we can’t let them suffer alone.

A first hand account of the south coast bushfires, amy fairall, narooma, south coast, nsw, bushfires, smoke, smog, crowd

These fires will impact the Australian psyche for a long time to come, so let’s be there to support those of us who are feeling it the most. 

Don’t become complacent

This is not a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ event but rather the severe effects of climate change that we’ve been warned about – and that were scarily precise in their prediction. These disasters will continue to happen with more ferocity and fury. So be prepared for what can happen. Have a fire plan, have a flood plan. Have essential items stocked up. It’s too risky to think the worst has passed. 

Rally the government to take drastic climate action

Unfortunately we don’t have time to wait until the next election to vote in a government that will act on climate change. We have to make do with the one we’ve got. That means we have to make our voices and concerns heard and demand the government take drastic climate action to help reduce the risk of these fires happening again. 

There’s already an abundance of amazing people and groups working hard to make climate action a top priority for the government. Connect with them – they have campaigns in place and they work bloody hard to get stuff done.  

Check them out!

Australian Youth Climate Coalition

GetUp!

350.org

Fossil Free Unis

Stop Adani

It’s a hard slog in Australia, with media giants that manipulate the truth and infuriatingly stubborn politicians that insist we’re doing enough for climate change already, (if they even acknowledge its existence at all). Which is why we need every single voice we can get and for those voices to be united. 

Sure, share activism posts on social media, but get up and go to the rallies (that seem to be happening every month nowadays), speak to your local members of parliament and the local council too. No action is too small and we need every one that we can get.

Feature photo by Anouk Berney