Community reacts to Australian fire fundraising

Recent wildfires cause many celebrities with social media platforms to raise funds for fire relief efforts

Australian+wildfires+wreak+havoc+and+cause+devastation+across+the+country. illustration/ SOPHIE CRISCIONE AND ASHLEY YUNG

Australian wildfires wreak havoc and cause devastation across the country.

Devastating wildfires aren’t just a phenomenon found in California.

The Australian fires began burning last October and have destroyed 200 million acres of land.

“What we’re being told … is that they’ve never experienced fires on this level,” Granite Bay High biology teacher Scott Braly said. “(The Australian fires) are another piece of evidence that indicates that the climate is changing. There’s a lot of scientific evidence that … these events are becoming more severe.”

Unlike other wildfires, the fires in Australia have affected urban areas in addition to rural areas, which has for the most part only been witnessed in California.

Despite the tragedy, the fire has also demonstrated a wave of financial support and conservation efforts coming through the internet.

Actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge sold her Golden Globes suit for $40,000 on eBay, with all the funds going toward relief efforts for the Australian fires. 

“Typically celebrities … will state their opinion after a natural disaster, but they don’t always focus a lot of attention on climate change,” said junior Rachel Low, the co-president of the GBHS environmental club. “As celebrities speak out to donate … we are starting to see a shift in public concern for … climate change.”

Waller-Bridge wasn’t the only celebrity using the internet to bring awareness and funds to the Australian fires.

Kaylen Ward, a nude model residing in Los Angeles, caused a massive amount of donations to Australian conservation charities.

Ward inspired over a million dollars of donations, according to her unverified estimates, by promising a free nude photo of herself to those that showed proof of a $10 donation to an Australian conservation charity.

Other nude models followed suit and were also able to raise substantial amounts of money to prevent Australian land destruction. 

(Kaylen Ward) … found a way to draw greater attention (to the Australian fires by) presenting an intriguing way to (raise) money.”

— Chloe Docto

“Kaylen Ward … should be recognized as (having developed) a genius way to raise money,”  sophomore Chloe Docto said. “She … found a way to draw greater attention (to the Australian fires by) presenting an intriguing way to (raise) money.”

Despite their good intentions, some charities are choosing to decline donations raised by people using tactics similar to Ward’s.

“I think conservation groups shouldn’t reject money raised by controversial sources,” Docto said. “(Ward’s) efforts may seem dubious … but the intentions behind her actions stand out.”

Some wonder if these people are trying to use the tragedy of the Australian fires to gain publicity and build their personal brands.

Still, many believe their efforts should still be commended for bringing awareness and motivation to others regarding climate change and the natural disasters connected to it.

As more instances of celebrities working to combat the effects of climate change appear, others will surely follow suit.

“We need to inspire everyone to do their part in combating climate change,” Low said, “so that events like the Australian fires don’t continue to destroy the environment, homes and lives.”