The Australian Bushfires have become a world-wide recognised catastrophe, resulting in the death of billions of wildlife, and with approximately 113 species needing urgent care. Furthermore, around 33 people have been killed due to the bushfires.
People around the globe have been doing their part to try and help Australia recover from this tragedy. This includes celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, who donated $3million dollars through his environmental organisation Earth Alliance.
However, small acts of kindness are equally raising donations and goodwill. RGU Gender, Equality and Feminism (GEF), with the help of RGU Erasmus and RGU GoGreen, set up a week full of fundraising events (between Friday the 14th of February to 21st of February) to help the wildlife charities, WIRES and Wildlife Victoria. Both charities strive to rescue the animals who have been impacted by the Australian natural disasters, with WIRES stating that they aim to “actively rehabilitate and preserve Australian wildlife and inspire others to do the same.”
GEF’s treasurer stated that they chose the charities “because they seem to be working with volunteers and educating people a lot which means they raise awareness of issues of climate change and its impacts on the wildlife nationwide.”
In a time where climate change is very much at the forefront of society, it is no surprise that GEF’s fundraising events were so popular. It is currently lingering in the headline of the news; persuading people that the time to act is now.
However, the society co-president, Jade Robertson, expressed that, “the fires have been losing media coverage but the effects are massively long term…”. It is questionable as to whether or not Australia would still be in our minds, if not for these individually-created initiatives. The media has certainly been moving on to more recent news headlines, despite there still being a vital need to help Australia and its natural environment.
There were a lot of enjoyable fundraising events, all with a theme of climate change and Australian wildlife. This included Koala Bead Making workshops, bake sales and closing the week with a film screening of ‘Snowpiercer’. The fundraising team also sold badges and stickers with loveable Koala-themed designs. The stickers were sold for 50p and the badges at £1.50; managing to incorporate the objective of raising as much money as possible whilst being affordable for a student budget. The amazing artwork has been designed by RGU Students, thus further developing the idea of a global community embracing their individual skills and talents to help save our planet.
Jolan Hegedus, GEF's co-president, commented “With the heavy raining and flooding in Australia, it also seemed as though people were starting to believe that everything was resolved as some of the fires were put out… entire species – be it plants or animals – were very dangerously harmed. We chose the focus for our merchandise to be koalas as most people have probably heard that they are endangered, something which has only worsened since the wildfires started…”
GEF aimed to raise £300 during the fundraising week, however, managed to raise over £310. This could almost cover the feeding costs for 3 wombat joeys for 20 weeks, or a range of other vital activities to aid Australia’s wildlife. Alternatively, if you would like to find out more about how these vital donations could help aid the survival of Australia’s natural environment, go to https://www.wires.org.au/food-fund/home, where you can find out about how WIRES will use your much-needed donations.
Australia’s future is still unclear, but it is certain that it will never be the same again. We all need to pull together and fight for our planet.