All across Australia, bushfires are burning at an unprecedented scale. On January 14, the Australian government announced that the fires have devastated estimated 46 million acres (72,000 square miles), killing more than one billion animals, driving some endangered species to extinction. At least 29 people have been killed, with some 2,683 homes lost.
“What we’re seeing are the effects of climate change,” Chris Dickman, Professor from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Science told National Public Radio in America. “Sometimes, it’s said that Australia is the canary in the coal mine with the effects of climate change being seen here most severely and earliest… We’re probably looking at what climate change may look like for other parts of the world in the first stages in Australia at the moment.”
Witnessing the horror unfolding at an unprecedented scale, people around the world have been driven to act, donating money to organizations on the ground working directly in the affected areas to empower them to get the resources they need to respond to the crisis in a timely and ongoing manner.
Laurence Watts, a photographic artist currently based in Melbourne, Australia, has organized the Australian Bushfire Photo Appeal, an online sale of photographic prints to raise money for the Country Fire Authority’s Bushfire Disaster Appeal, which goes directly to the regional organizations fighting the blazes, and the Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities, coordinated by Yorta Yorta activist Neil Morris, which provides culturally sensitive support to First Nations peoples impacted by the fires.
Just launched yesterday, the Bushfire Photo Appeal features work from over 50 photographic artists including Susan Meiselas, Martin Parr, Alec Soth, Larry Towell, and Peyton Fulford, among many more. Affordably priced, many of the editions of 5-10 are quickly selling out on the first day, and will be available through 9:00am Australia time, Saturday, January 25.