Australia hold a special place in my heart. I have been incredibly fortunate to have traveled to 14 different countries over the years, and I can genuinely say each one has touched me on some level. But in 2010, after spending a few weeks in Sydney, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Cairns, and Palm Cove on a trip to Australia I took with the band for whom my husband works, I’d found my place. From snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef to riding high over the canopy of the rain forest to hanging out at a koala rescue sanctuary to visiting a tea tree oil plantation to chilling at one of the best music festivals I’ve ever attended, our visit to Australia was hands down the best trip of my life. Whenever someone asks where I’d choose to live if it could be anywhere in the world, Byron Bay is my immediate answer. I love Australia. So, so much.
But even if I’d never had the chance to step foot there, it would be impossible not to feel heartache for the victims of the devastating fires going on. I haven’t been able stop thinking about it (and there have been several episodes of me bursting into tears because I’ve felt so helpless). I know most of you can relate. I felt like it would be wrong to post anything else on here until I addressed what was happening and did some research on ways to help. Here are 7 ways I’ve found that we can all do something to make a difference.
1. The Australian Red Cross is accepting donations to its Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. This fund has helped send volunteers and staff communities affected by the fires, and has also helped give support to displaced people, along with emergency grants to help people with immediate needs.
2. WIRES (New South Wales Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.), which is Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organization, is accepting emergency donations to increase its capacity to help animals affected by the bushfires.
3. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is also accepting donations toward their relief efforts in New South Wales. When the bushfires clear, the WWF will work to restore homes and care for injured wildlife.
4. The Australian organization GIVIT matches donated goods with items that specifically requested by victims of the fires. Learn more and give right here.
5. Save the Children is accepting donations to build special spaces where kids affected by the bushfires can play and discuss their experiences in a supportive environment while their parents work on rebuilding and recovering from their losses.
6. NSW Rural Fire Service is accepting donations to emergency efforts and nonemergency community work.
7. The nonprofit Koalas in Care Inc. normally helps approximately 65 koalas every year, but is taking in many more koalas as a result of the bushfires. Donate here.
One final thing before I go… I don’t discuss politics much here, but guys, climate change is real. The end. The fires happening in Australia are just one of countless incredibly serious consequences of damage that humans have done. Please, for the future of our planet, vow in 2020 to make changes – whether big or small – in your daily life that keep the earth in mind. And most importantly, vote with the planet in mind. We’re talking about our home, which is in desperate need of repair before it’s too late.