It’s known that Australia has been dealing with one of the most brutal bushfire seasons this summer, due to record breaking temperatures and the current state of the climate.
Being a university located in WA, we have been sheltered from these devastating fires, which are still occurring in the Eastern states, affecting more than 18,626 million hectares and killed at least thirty-three people.
The fires have destroyed over 2000 homes in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, while also having wiped out major ecosystems that are home to millions of native Australian animals.
Thinking about how devastating the fires have been this summer and how places like WA have mostly been unaffected, it left me thinking about what institutions like UWA are doing to help.
Upon my research, I was glad to learn that UWA have contributed and started initiatives to aid the bushfire relief in a conglomeration of ways.
In January, the regular ‘Yoga on the Grass’ at UWA had a session where participants were asked to bring a donation to participate, which UWA Sport said they would match. These donations were donated directly to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief.
UWA Law School and The Law Society of Western Australia hosted a CPD Bushfire Fundraiser on January 30th, which raised money directly to the Australian Red Cross Bush Fire Relief Fund. Associate Professor David Hodgkinson also delivered a lecture at the event to provide insight into Australia’s climate change law and how the bushfires were linked to Australia’s current state.
UWA student council president, Bre Shanahan, declared an emergency council motion for the bushfire relief effort, and called on all students to get involved by listing all of the possible ways for students to take action here.
The UWA Guild has also responded by stating that students can make direct donations from now until the end of February at Guild cafes, by looking for the tin at the counter of Hackett, Quobba, Catalyst, and Business School cafes. All funds raised will be split between NSW RFS, Victoria CFA, and the First Nation Communities affected.
The university extended support to staff members who were involved in any of the volunteer services of a recognised emergency management body, to apply for Emergency Services leave.
I was really impressed to see that UWA had contributed to the bushfire relief in a multifaceted approach; with different initiatives and involvement from both UWA students and facility.
The support we can offer to victims of the bushfires is so important and necessary to help build back some resemblance of what was, and I hope UWA continues to offer such support.
Words by Courtney Withers
Image courtesy of Pixabay