The statistics are incomprehensible, but no matter where you are, know that you can make a difference to the people, animals and landscape of Australia…
When I sat down to write about the bushfires, Sarah immediately came to mind.
She was our studio Art Director until sometime last year. I didn’t have the opportunity to work with Sarah directly. But our paths crossed enough that her slightly mischievous, but honest and infectious laugh left its mark on me. A mark synonymous with “the real deal.” Because she “missed its beautiful beaches and fresh air,” Sarah and those bright and knows-what-she-wants eyes picked up and moved back home. To Australia.
I’ve never been to Australia, so my knowledge of it is limited to what I learned from Men At Work and some horrible cliches afforded to most of us. Something about shrimp, I think? In spite of that, I knew it was someplace very special. Someplace that, after completing what would be for many of us a nearly unbearable flight, would immediately grant its weary visitors the reward of unmatched life and beauty.
I wondered if that light somehow manifested itself in the glow of Sarah’s being. Regardless, I’m grateful to know it. And my heart breaks for her. And everyone else affected right now. That of course includes the animals, whose mortality rates are reaching a number that I really can’t let myself comprehend. Sarah doesn’t deserve it. No one — and nothing — deserves that reality.
But nature is not discriminatory. It thrives and rages where is it best fueled, whether good or bad. In spite of what you may believe, our world is changing and our environment is bearing the face of extremes that our generation and many before it has not been privy to. The threat of these unfolding disasters is very real. California knows all too well.
I wrote Sarah to ask if she could share what she’s seen, and heard, and felt from her home in Victoria which, though not in the line of literal fire, has been impacted in many other ways. “I’m heartbroken to tell you that the air is unbreathable, and our beaches are filled with victims who have lost everything due to the fires.
“They say this is just the beginning and I can’t comprehend what this means for generations to come. But, we are overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who has given their time, their donations and their thoughts, especially to the wildlife which is so innocent in this.”
Free People has made a donation to the World Wildlife Fund in Australia to restore habitats and care for injured wildlife impacted by the fires. For Sarah, for nature, for each other, consider making a donation to an organization that best represents your values. Here are just a few:
The WWF is just one outlet fighting the good fight — Wires Wildlife Rescue, whose mission is to actively rehabilitate and preserve Australian wildlife and inspire others to do the same; the Australian Red Cross, who are sending staff and volunteers to those communities hit hardest by the fires and to provide support; the NSW (New South Wales Rural Fire Service), who monitor and update a map on their site of the fires’ location, as well as provides emergency and non-emergency services; the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has begun a GoFundMe campaign to develop the very first wild koala breeding facility to ensure that wild koalas never become extinct; the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, who provides immediate short-term funds to Gippslanders affected by natural disaster events.
No matter where we are, we are all in this together.
For more on how you can impact your world, visit Care FP.