CREDO Tip: How you can help with the Australian fires
Devastating wildfires are ravaging Australia, and there’s hardly any sign of relief. The fires have killed nearly 30 people, destroyed more than 2,600 homes and scorched more than 25 million acres of land. 800,000 animals have been put at risk by the fires in New South Wales alone, with a half-billion killed across the country.
The climate crisis is making the situation even worse, and some experts believe this may become the new normal on a warming planet. For most of us, Australia is half a world away, but there are ways we can help. Here are 4 ways you can take action now.
1. Donate to help firefighters, community workers, animals and those affected
There are many organizations collecting donations for frontline groups working directly with firefighters, community workers, animals and those affected by the fires. While there are many personal fundraising pages across the internet and social media – and many scams posing as charities – here are three groups you can directly make donations to:
- The Australian Red Cross is accepting donations to its Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.
- The New South Wales Rural Fire Service is accepting donations.
- The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Australia is seeking donations for the rescue and treatment of animals affected by the bushfires.
2. Learn more about the link between the fires and climate change
Experts agree: Human-caused climate change has worsened the Australian fires and signals that frequent, devastating wildfires could become much more common in the future. The record-setting high temperatures coupled with extreme dry weather due to climate-induced droughts have fueled these intense, deadly fires – which in turn are fueling climate change in a damaging feedback loop.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here are a sample of recent articles explaining the link between the climate crisis and the Australian fires from Vox, NPR, the BBC, Grist, and our allies at InsideClimate News.
3. Spread the word on social media (but be careful)
You may have seen it in your social media feed: 200 arsonists, not climate change, are to blame for the Australian fires.
But the viral articles claiming this nonsense were false. A disinformation campaign attempting to link the fires to arson was amplified by bots and trolls and other bad actors, including Rupert Murdoch’s climate-denying portfolio of media organizations, far-right fake news sites and shameful public figures, including Donald Trump Jr.
We all know that social media is a hotbed of misinformation disguised as real news, but it can also be a force for good. Share your activism and donations, news articles about the climate crisis, and urge your friends to take action. But be aware of your sources, especially content with sensational headlines that don’t pass the smell test.
4. Get involved in climate activism
Stopping today’s deadly wildfires is only part of the solution. As the planet warms and the climate changes, these fires will only become more common, more intense and more devastating all across the globe.
Lawmakers must be pressured with collective, direct activism to take bold action to confront the climate crisis head-on. Join our allies at Sunrise Movement and 350.org who are fighting every day to enact a Green New Deal, a plan with the scope and ambition necessary to transition our society and economy away from fossil fuels and fend off the oncoming climate crisis.