Here’s how to donate to Australia bushfire victims and other actions you can take in Singapore to support people, animals, and nature from afar
We’ve watched in horror as the Australia bushfires have destroyed homes, scorched land, and killed wildlife. You’ve probably read the terrifying stats and seen the heartbreaking photos, but here’s a quick recap of what’s resulted from this devastating combination of drought, record-high temperatures, and unstoppable bushfires:
- 25 people have lost their lives
- More than 6.3million hectares (63,000 square kilometres) of bush, forests, and parks have been burned (source). The fires have been burning since July, and are expected to rage on for months.
- Thousands of people across the country have lost their homes, with entire towns destroyed.
- Nearly a billion animals have died, with Australia’s iconic Koalas hit particularly hard across the country (it’s estimated that a quarter of the Koalas in New South Wales have died), and the very real threat of extinction for certain endangered species.
- Millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions – two-thirds of Australia’s annual average – have been emitted into the atmosphere in just the last three months. Experts estimate it will take at least a century for all the gases emitted from these bushfires to be re-absorbed.
- Even though the fires haven’t reached Australia’s major cities, smoke from them has, polluting the air for millions of Australians. The PM2.5 level in Sydney was almost 400 this week, for instance. Pregnant women, children and the elderly are particularly at risk.
Like any human being and global citizen, we are horrified and deeply saddened by what we are seeing, hearing and reading. It can all feel a bit overwhelming, to the point that you almost want to shut your eyes and ignore it. But we are also mothers, and we know that is rarely an option — somehow we’ve got to find a way through this. As devastating as the news is about the environmental impact and the plight of defenseless animals dealing with the consequences of a problem they didn’t create (and oh boy, are those facts devastating), we can’t help but imagine what it must be like for children who spent Christmas wondering if they would ever go home again, or who saw their schools and towns destroyed before their eyes. For mothers who can’t drive to the store to buy diapers for their babies, or access fresh water for their children. Or for fathers who lost their lives fighting these insane fires. Please put yourself in these families’ shoes and do whatever you can to help them in their time of need.
How to help?
Take a cue from celebrities like Chris Hemsworth, P!nk, and Australian comedian Celeste Barber – who’s raised over forty million dollars (!) for the cause – and donate whatever you can afford. You’ll find a list of reputable, worthy organizations below, along with fundraisers and initiatives here in Singapore to help Australia’s bushfire victims.
If money is tight or you want to do more, you can raise awareness by posting on social media or talking to friends and family about the fires (both their impact and their resulting in part from climate change and global warming). Along these lines, make a conscious effort to live a more green lifestyle, because every little bit really does help. Get involved with a beach cleanup, reduce your use of single-use plastics (particularly straws), and make a concerted effort to recycle (and upcycle).
In the coming months, consider taking a vacation to Australia, where you can help revitalize the local economy and support businesses with an emphasis on sustainability and conservation. In the spirit of green-mindedness, you might want to reduce your carbon footprint and offset your flights. One of our fave travel websites, The Luxe Nomad, has just announced that it will donate US$10 from every booking in January to support WIRES Australian Rescue Wildlife Organisation (more on them below). You can also check out the new Instagram account @SpendWithThem, which is shining a spotlight on Australian small businesses affected by the fires whom you can support.
Here’s a list of leading organizations in Australia where you can donate money to help the victims of the bushfires
- The Australian Red Cross: The Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund helps communities prepare, respond to, and recover from natural disasters. Bushfire emergency grants are also available for people who have lost their homes.
- Foodbank: Every dollar donated provides two meals for Australians in need.
- GIVIT: 100% of funds raised go toward purchasing essential items like food, homewares, and personal items for victims of the bushfires
- State Fire Services: Incredibly, most of these fires are being fought by brave volunteers. Below are the individual state-funded rural fire services; also consider donating to the families of fallen firefighters, all of whom tragically leave behind small children.
- Salvation Army: The Bushfire Appeal is providing meals to evacuees and first responders alike.
Animals & Wildlife
- Adelaide Koala Rescue: This volunteer-based rescue service is seeking to rehabilitate and re-home affected Koalas in the Adelaide and Adelaide Hills areas
- Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors: The famous Australia Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital is aiming to open a new ward for Flying Foxes (as well as a creche for orphaned babies). It’s also sending medical supplies to wildlife rescuers on the frontlines, and constructing a climate-controlled intensive care ward for Koalas.
- Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park: Home to Australia’s only Koala population that’s free of disease, Kangaroo Island has seen at least half of its Koalas perish. Donate here to support the injured and the survivors.
- Port Macquarie Koala Hospital: It’s estimated that over a quarter of NSW’s Koala population has died in the bushfires, with many more suffering from dehydration . The Koala Hospital is aiming to provide drinking stations in affected areas for thirsty Koalas, and is also looking after burnt Koalas brought in for treatment.
- RSPCA NSW: Livestock and family pets have been seriously impacted as families and farmers have had to evacuate their homes and towns on a moment’s notice. The RSPCA is doing their part to evacuate animals and treat the injured survivors once the active fire zones are cleared.
- Wildlife Victoria: Donations to the bushfire appeal will help shelters rebuild and provide equipment to ensure carers can continue their life-saving work.
- WIRES Wildlife Rescue: The mission of this NSW-based organization is to actively rehabilitate and preserve Australian wildlife; WIRES has over 2,500 volunteers in 28 branches across the state to help native animals in distress.
- World Wildlife Fund – Save the Koalas: Koalas in NSW are headed toward extinction before 2050; it’s estimated that 8,400 Koalas on NSW’s Northern Coast alone have perished in these bushfires. Donations to the emergency fund can help replace trees in the critical Koala habitat, provide emergency care to injured Koalas, protect existing forests and woodlands, and – importantly – pressure the government to strengthen its laws and environmental policies before it’s too late.
Events & Organizations in Singapore
- Singapore Red Cross: Australian Bushfire Emergency Response: The easiest way to donate in Singapore dollars and ensure your money is properly channeled to victims in need.
- AustCham will hold its popular annual Australia Day Ball on 8 February, with a special auction on the night where 100% of money raised will go toward their Bushfire Appeal Fund with the Red Cross. AustCham will also donate 20% of raffle ticket sales, and any profit made from general ticket sales. Click here to donate, and help them meet their $1 million fundraising goal!
- For every cup of coffee sold in January, The Social Space will donate $1 to Red Cross Australia’s Bushfire Relief Fund
- We’ve tried and tested organic, biodegradable Ilo Tampons; they’re living their green ethos and have pledged to donate 100% of 2020 profits to WIRES Wildlife Rescue.
- At F45 Training gyms across Singapore – including Amoy Street, River Valley, Siglap and Tiong Bahru – $10 will be donated for every 500m on the rower during Hollywood sessions this Saturday 11 January.
- Neon Pigeon – in conjunction with Burnt Ends, Potato Head, Old Man and other top restaurants and bars – will be hosting an Australia Bushfire Fundraiser Buffet Brunch on Sunday 12 January from 1pm to 4pm at $100 per person, with $10 drinks all day from Singapore’s top bartenders (it’s recommended that you go green and BYO keep-cup). There will also be a silent auction at 8pm. Booking info here.
- The Whole Kitchen will donate 10% of profits during January to the NSW Rural Fire Service and WIRES Wildlife Rescue.
- Family clothing label Roses & Rhinos has pledged to donate all proceeds from sales through this Friday (10 January) to the Australian Red Cross.
- Australian-owned Shopping at Tiffany’s has pledged to donate all proceeds from sales at both shop locations (Tanglin and I12 Katong) on Wednesday 8 January to the Red Cross and WIRES. There will also be donation jars in both shops throughout the month.
- Badger & Fox at Tanglin Mall will hold a special shopping event on Thursday 9 January with 100% of proceeds from the day going to the Australian Red Cross.
- Bowerbird Ceramics (pictured) is donating 100% of Singapore-based sales through Wednesday 8 January to WIRES.
- In cooperation with the global Relief Run initiative, our friends at Momentum Bootcamps will host a special charity running event on Sunday 19 January at 7am at Marina Barrage. Click here for more deets and to register.
- The lovely Terri-Anne Leske of Carrosticks & Cravings is putting on two “Ladies Lunch” fundraisers at the café’s Dempsey and Robertson Quay locations on 29 and 30 January, respectively. All proceeds from the $65 ticket will benefit her hometown of Cobargo, NSW, which was sadly decimated by the bushfires. Even if you can’t score a ticket, there will be a wonderful silent auction and raffle filled with goodies from some of our favourite businesses in Singapore.
- The AC Raffles – home to some of our favorite local brands like Tara’s World, Two Baked Buns, Emma Laue Children, and The Lab Fragrances – is donating 10% of January revenue to Red Cross Australia.
- Poke Theory will donate 50% of all profits earned on Friday 17 January to the Australian Red Cross and the World Wildlife Fund.
- One of our favorite homewares shops, Shiva Designs Bespoke, will donate 15% of all sales in January, February and March to Wildlife Victoria. You can purchase some items online or at their shop at Cluny Court.
- If you want to party for a good cause, the popular monthly ‘Smack My Beach Up’ event at Tanjong Beach Club will have some extra Aussie flavour this month, with their Australia Day party happening on Sunday 26 January from 1pm, and 10% of all sales going to Australia bushfire relief.
- Do you enjoy mindfulness & meditation? Have you tried Himalayan singing bowls? The mama-run Rainbowls & Reiki is offering to donate 50% of proceeds from her pay-as-you-wish sessions (min. $40 to cover space) to one of the Australian wildlife charities listed above. Click here for more info and to register.
- Do you love to knit, sew or crochet? If so, Singapore Rescue Crafters Connect is donating materials and other garments; see the Facebook group for more info. Meanwhile, here’s a pattern to make Koala mittens, and information on sewing bat wraps and Kangaroo joey pouches — note that some organisations have reached their maximum capacity for goods so be mindful of your contributions.
We will keep this list updated as new information comes in. Please contact us at sa[email protected] if you have an event you’d like to add.
Little by little, a little becomes a lot. – Tanzanian proverb