What’s happening in Australia?
If you haven’t heard, bushfires have been tearing through the country since September. It’s estimated that the fires have released 350 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Air quality measurements are 20 times above the hazardous level. Potentially 1 billion animals have died, including about ⅓ of the koala population.
All of this news can be overwhelming and can incite our solastalgia, so this week we’re highlighting some of the positivity coming out of this heartbreaking situation.
It Started With A Tweet
On New Years Eve, Erin Riley tweeted offering her empty fenced paddocks to folks evacuating with animals. The tweet went viral and others began responding with similar offers. By the end of the week Riley was running an impromptu organization, FindABed, organizing offers of accommodation for over 3,000 people!
Patsy the Dog Saves Sheep From Fire
A brave 6 year old kelpie-border-collie Patsy helped save a flock of sheep during an intense blaze. Patsy, along with her human rounded up and brought the sheep to a safer paddock. Patsy now has an Instagram where you can follow her journey to help others affected by the fires. Read more here.
Meds First, Payment Later
Even after losing his home in the wildfires, Raj Gupta, a pharmacist in a fire affected community, continues to keep his small pharmacy’s doors open. Without electricity the pharmacy is unable to take payments but Gupta isn’t concerned, “people will come back and pay, they are very honorable people,” Gupta said. The South Coast fires have destroyed over 450 homes, but Gupta’s acts help restore our faith that we will look out for each other, in the hardest of times.
Other Ways You Can Help Australia Fire Victims
- Donate items to GIVIT, a non profit working to alleviate poverty and those affected by the bushfires.
- Reduce your environmental impact.
- Use less single-use plastic.
- Eat more plant-based meals to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Pledge to fly less.
- Vote for leaders who will take action for the planet and campaign for laws that will protect Earth and its wildlife.
- Donate to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital to help save Koalas.
- Donate to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery.
- Donate to the Salvation Army Emergency Services.
Seven Caribbean Countries Ban Single-Use Plastic
The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, have officially banned and prohibited the use and import of single-use plastic and styrofoam in efforts to prevent ocean pollution which directly affects marine species.
New Ban on Sunscreen Chemicals to Protect Coral Reefs
Palau, a country in the western Pacific Ocean has forbidden the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, chemicals shown to deform, bleach, and damage coral, a world’s first. Stores that sell these chemicals will could be fined up to $1,000 and tourists will have to hand over their non reef-safe sunscreens upon entering the country. Check out these ocean-safe sunscreens to help our ocean wildlife.
Counting Whales From Space
An aquarium and an engineering firm in Massachusetts are working on a project to better protect whales – by monitoring them from space. Using satellites, sonar and radar scientists will be able to keep a closer eye on how many whales are in the ocean and track their migratory patterns. The project will develop over several years and has a $1M budget. Read further on why whales are important to our world.