Australia’s bushfire disaster has shown that hope and leadership can come from unlikely places and shows us a new way forward.

 

We entered this new year in a tumultuous way, as our beautiful country burns, homes lost, people displaced and devastation of wildlife and bushland. This is a time for leadership, compassion and finding a different way forward.

We’ve been encouraged by those who have stepped up in this crisis. They’ve come from sometimes unexpected places, but offer hope as they seek to be the difference makers. Here’s just a few…

 

The crafters

Who knew knitting or sewing would be a top skill required to help in this disaster? The need for pouches for rescued wildlife has led to spontaneous sewing bees, crafting groups responding from community libraries here and as far away as Ireland. Sew Much Easier is just one of the many sites putting calls out for sewing help.

 

The connectors

People have used their connections and coordination skills to get food and medical supplies, food for farm animals and practical support to communities. Gippsland Jersey has been instrumental in organizing hay to be transported to fire affected farms in East Gippsland.

 

The artists, poets, musicians and comedians

The role art plays in bringing hope and expression has been so evident as we’ve seen many musicians, poets, artists and comedians rise to the occasion. Celeste Barber’s appeal captured the hearts of many, while artists near and far have responded with gifts, relief concerts, art shows, and the Australian Open Rally for Relief that saw $5 million raised to support fire affected communities.

 

The innovators

Adversity breeds innovation like nothing else. It has been remarkable to new initiatives spring to life so quickly in response to the devastating bushfires.Small business is a topic close to our hearts, so we’ve particularly loved these initiatives designed to support and promote the businesses impacted by the loss of trade from the fires. Jump on board:

EmptyEmpty Esky, It my shout It’s My Shout, and Spend With Them, to name a few.

The defenders

No doubt that these guys are the real heroes on the front lines. They are risking their lives, many voluntarily, missing their family, their Christmas. The CFA, Fire Rescue, Forest Fire Management, plant and equipment owners, Victoria Police, our Australian Defence Force and Army Reservists.

 

The carers

It’s times like these where we see the power and strength of Food Bank, Red Cross, The Salvos responding on the scene. Not to mention all of the wildlife groups, and the vets donating their time to help.

 

The givers

Our Pacific neighbours supporting Australians with resources and financial donations. The Australian public who have given their financial donations – Celeste Barber’s fundraising alone has raised over $50 million! If you’re a giver you can head here for options:  https://www.bushfirehelp.org/

Here’s to the Difference Makers.

And here’s to a new decade of rediscovering our interconnectedness to each other and to the land, as we seek to bring health and wellbeing to people and our planet.

 

 

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