This year started out with massive wildfires in Australia so it’s sadly not a big surprise that the west coast of the United States is now experiencing our own huge wildfires as well. But that doesn’t take away from the emotional and destructive nature of these fires, as the magnitude and speed have caused immense damage to homes, communities, forests, and habitats. It’s been a destructive and overwhelming couple of weeks, to say the least.
On a personal level, I hate that writing about these fires and the effects of climate change have become a new normal for me. But this is, unfortunately, the ‘new normal’ and will probably continue to worsen if drastic change isn’t taken, especially by those most at fault. It’s easy to blame the average person or to say that it’s overpopulation in developing countries. Not only is that thinking wrong, but it’s also a part of ecofascism and shifts the blame from people who are actually to blame. Just 100 companies emit 71% of carbon emissions and no matter how much they donate to the fight against climate change, billionaires are a leading cause.
The above quote is a popular one during a tragedy, as it’s a reminder that in all the bad, there’s also good happening. For me, it’s important to remember that Mr. Rogers would say this to children and the implication for adults is to be those helpers. During this time, there are many ways to help. If you’re not in the path of wildfires and evacuations, think about opening up your home to family and friends who have to leave. If you have the land and space, help farms, rescues, and other places by taking in animals.
If you aren’t near by or able to open your home, consider donate to the following organizations (and many more):
- GlobalGiving California Wildfire Relief Fund
- The American Red Cross
- GoFundMe’s general Wildfire Relief Fund
- There are plenty of individual campaigns on GoFundMe to help individuals and families rebuild their lives after this. Make sure to look at who is organizing the campaign so you can know that the funds are going to the right people.
- United Way of Northern California
- United Way in Whitman County, Washington
- United Way of Mid-Willamette Valley
- A list of California food banks can be found here.
- Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s California Recovery Fund
Donating to organizations and campaigns like the ones above are important for short and long term help but these things will take years to fix. And unless we drastically do something to fight climate change, these wildfires and other natural disasters are going to keep happening.
If you’ve been impacted by the wildfires and need help, please comment!