If you’re an Australian resident, you don’t need a recap of the last 6 weeks. We are experiencing the nation’s single worst bushfire crisis on record, and it has been a literal hell on earth.
As images of the aftermath start to emerge, other fires rage still. The cumulative impact of their destruction is not yet known, but the word apocalyptic comes to mind.
One major casualty of the great inferno is Australian wildlife. Their already precarious future now depends in large part on the generosity and will of the Australian people and the international community.
To put it plainly: more than 10.7 million hectares of Australian land has been razed to the ground, killing more than 1.6 billion Australian wildlife, and destroying the habitats of many more. Those not burnt in fires are now dying of starvation and dehydration.
Console’s head office is based in South Bank in Brisbane and has been relatively sheltered from the impacts of bushfires. We are a business-to-business real estate tech company, with no strong environmental ties beyond our annual fundraising appeal for RSPCA.
In that regard, we have no business commenting on the bushfires and their enormous environmental impacts.
Nonetheless, collectively we have been appalled by the unprecedented loss of wildlife and ancient habitat. And the only glimmer of hope in that regard comes from watching an equally unprecedented firefighting and wildlife rescue effort take place nation-wide over the last six weeks.
It was then we knew we wanted to raise money for WIRES’ Emergency Bushfire Fund. According to Office Manager Erin Simeonoff, ‘We had to do something. The feeling in our office was that houses and businesses were suffering, but with the right help, they could be rebuilt.’
‘Wildlife, and particularly threatened and vulnerable species such as flying foxes and koalas, on the other hand, are in real danger of never recovering numbers. That’s why we decided to raffle off a day of annual leave to raise money for NSW’s peak wildlife rescue charity WIRES.’
Wildlife, and particularly threatened and vulnerable species such as flying foxes and koalas, are in real danger of never recovering.
Console staff are estimated to have already donated in the thousands of dollars to other bushfire emergency appeals in recent weeks. ‘The outpouring of generosity on top of these efforts is particularly heartening,’ says Console Head of HR James Stone. ‘The annual leave raffle will be drawn on Friday 24 January.’
The outpouring of generosity on top of these efforts is particularly heartening.
Editor’s note: we are not publicly sharing our internal fundraising page for WIRES. We would, however, encourage you to donate to WIRES via their official donation page here.
One of our senior training and implementation specialists, Michelle Jakovac, is also a CFA volunteer firefighter for the Carlsruhe brigade. She’s been a firefighting volunteer for eight years now.
We wanted to share Michelle’s incredible hard work and wild stories with you all, but as we were writing this she got called away to another opening fire front. Before she left, she told us ‘A significant chunk of what firefighting volunteers do is looking out for each other and our community, and helping with fire prevention, preparation, and monitoring. I want to emphasise that this is also really important work.’
Michelle Jakovac on duty with CFA in rural Victoria.
Our thoughts are with her and her local brigade, and indeed everyone else fighting or affected by the bushfires as we publish this.
We wanted to share Michelle’s amazing story and efforts with you all, but as we were writing this she got called away to another opening fire front.
As of January 19, bushfire appeal donations totalled almost half a billion dollars—possibly the largest amount ever raised in response to an Australian disaster. However, forest regeneration, habitat growth and wildlife rehabilitation is shaping up to be a years-long—and possibly decades-long—battle.
So if you have been hoping to do more for our wildlife, or you have already and are looking to continue your great work, we have two pieces of advice.
We think this Marie Claire article is full of good advice on worthy candidates for wildlife. But to help our amazing fireys, and the thousands of people affected by the fires, here’s a list of other organisations that are making a real difference to the bushfire crisis: