These past few weeks, Jordan has woken up to the smell of smoke. Jordan shares how we can use our purchasing power to support communities affected by bushfires, and take action in our own lives, from the water we use to how we spend our time, money and resources.
All I can see is the haze in this usually lush green oasis of New South Wales’ North Coast. Social media has blown up, most punters angry at our government for not doing enough, and that the fire brigade doesn’t have enough help to battle these blazes. All I wanted to do was help but juggling a full-time job and a side hustle made it challenging to offer any physical support.
That’s why, for the whole month of December, I decided to donate 20% of the profits from my debut novel book sales to the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS). If I couldn’t help physically, I hoped this would help a little. Shelby Sherritt and Jack Thomson seem to think so too. They’re both young people in Australia who run a creative business and have also decided to donate some of their profits to aid the aftermath of the flames.
Based on the Gold Coast, Jack runs Minarga, an eco-friendly surf, fashion and art label focusing on hand-drawn clothing designs and art prints. From December 8-14, he’s also decided to donate 20% of his profits to the NSW RFS.
“The lack of action and preparation for such events is a heartbreaking reflection of the Australian government’s disconnection to its people, as well as disconnection to the well-being and best interests of its people,” Jack insists.
“I think it’s important for businesses to help out during this time. For those of us who aren’t directly affected by the fires, it’s critical we sympathise and help out. We would be dependent on the generosity of others if we were the ones affected during this time.”
It’s not just the people affected by the fires. Wildlife and habitats have taken a severe setback as well.
Ceramic Koalas by Shelby is based in Ballarat, Victoria, and handcrafts ceramic pieces inspired by native Australian animals and flowers. Shelby is donating $10 from every sale to WIREs, which is a rehabilitation and preservation service for Australian wildlife.
“I donated to this organisation because I felt like there were so many different organisations responding to the bushfires and I felt that WIREs was a holistic organisation that would see the funds spread evenly to animals in all areas affected,” Shelby says.
“I feel like it only takes a little bit to help a lot. I felt helpless and frustrated and that there was nothing I could do. I make koalas which are my favourite animal so it felt strange to continue making the animal without recognising the fact that they could go extinct if no one does anything to change this.”
For those who don’t run a business, or aren’t in a position to help financially, don’t worry–there are still ways you can help.
Lower your water consumption
Vast areas of our country are experiencing terrible drought. By lowering our water usage consumption in any way you can, we can help Australia become green again and keep our dams fuller.
Donate your belongings
A lot of communities and animals have lost their homes—over 600 houses have been destroyed. Reach out to the communities near you with donated belongings.
From clothes to homewares, blankets to food, fans to books and school resources, there are many charities collecting goods to help support those affected. Check out GIVIT, Go Fund Me (for the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital among others), Red Cross Blood Service and Vinnies for great places to donate.
Become a volunteer
If you have time, using it to help someone else can be beneficial not only to them, but for your own happiness. The Helper’s High is a real thing, so why not plant some trees in your local area. The NSW RFS is also calling out for volunteers. Check out their website to see the kinds of roles available, which vary from administration to catering, equipment maintenance to youth development!
If being on the front line isn’t your thing, maybe volunteering to rescue and care for wildlife through WIREs could be more up your alley.
Take action in your own way
For change to go a long way in the social and political world, it’s always safety in numbers as with more voices comes louder noise. The suffering and fear from climate disasters like this can make young people afraid of the future.
Be sure to share how you feel with loved ones. You can even write a letter to your PM discussing your concerns and any ethical ideas you have to make Australia a better place for all. Joining a protest in your local community on an issue you’re passionate can also fulfil your sense of belonging and being heard.