Celebrities including Kylie Minogue, Lizzo and Ellen DeGeneres have been raising funds and awareness for the Australian bushfire relief effort.
Bushfires have been raging across Australia since September and show no sign of stopping. In the last weeks of December, stoked by drought and record temperatures of well over 40°C, the fires reached new levels of destruction. This has caused the country’s worst peacetime crisis in history, with almost 2,000 homeslost to the flames and a billion animals affected. The fires have also released more than two-thirds of the country’s annual carbon emissions in the three months they’ve been burning, raising fears about worsening climate change in this already hard-hit area. So far, at least 25 people have been killed and countless more displaced.
In response to the disaster, celebrities from across industries have been raising awareness and giving money to crucial services. Here’s some of the biggest celebs who’vedonated, and how you can too.
Celeste Barber, a fellow Australian and an actor, writer and comedian, started a fundraising page on Facebook. So far she has raised more than $45,000,000 for the fire services operating in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Having only set up the page last Friday, Barber has used her following on Twitter and Instagram to pull in donations, and within just 48 hours had raised $20,000,000.
Calling the fires “terrifying”, Barber has used her platform to contribute in a massive way to the relief effort, and has taken to Twitter to call on other big stars to do the same.
You can contribute to Celeste Barber’s fundraiser here.
Pop icon and self-love guru Lizzo took a break from her tour in Australia at the weekend to volunteer at a foodbank. Lizzo helped pack hampers for families in Victoria who have been isolated by the fires, providing food and water to those whose access has been cut off. The organisation Foodbank Victoria has been overwhelmed by generosity in recent days, as a queue of donators over 1km long formed outside the warehouse on Sunday.
You can donate to Foodbank Victoria here.
Ellen DeGeneres is one of the biggest names in pop culture, and has rallied her massive 81.7 million followers to the cause by creating a fundraiser and reposting an emotive Instagram from climate activist Greta Thunberg about the bushfires. On Tuesday she set up a GoFundMe with a goal of $5,000,000, and has already raised well over $370,000. Donations will be split between the Australian Red Cross and the wildlife charity WIRES. WIRES is the country’s largest wildlife organisation, and works to rescue injured and orphaned animals. The charity’s 2,500 volunteers have been working tirelessly in the face of this crisis, but with millions of hectares of land still burning their work is far from over.
Serena Williams won her first title in three years at the weekend - and pledged to donate 100% of her winnings to the Australian bushfire relief fund. Speaking after her match against Jessica Pegula at the Auckland Classic, Serena talked of how hard she had found watching coverage of the fires. When announcing her donation to the cause, she said that from the beginning of the tournament she knew she’d use the $43,000 prize money to aid the relief effort if she won. She will also be signing and auctioning off the dresses she wore for each match in aid of the cause.
You can donate to the Australian Red Cross here.
Please be aware that this article was originally published on Friday 10th January 2020, but has been updated to include new information.