I grew up on the pristine and raw west coast of Australia. I left when I was twenty three, over 12 years ago, for New York. Today, the rich and diverse habitat of so many creatures, spirits and people is burning in a way I never imagined. 23 million acres are counting – including a fire the size of Manhattan. When I was young, climate change was a vague possibility we would have to face maybe someday one day. Today, for my five year old, it is a very real reality we must navigate with courage and conviction.

Friends write to me from Australia sharing the truth that wildlife sanctuaries and National Parks are being completely razed to the ground (Kangaroo Island), while ecologists worry that the loss of insects and other key players in natural ecosystems will be eliminated, along with the important roles (like pollination) that they play. Other news I am hearing is that the nation does not have enough resources to fight these ever increasing fires – and that they need help from the world. Navy ships are picking up hundreds of people who have fled to beaches in search of shelter. I have seen footage of kangaroos fleeing smokey landscapes by the hundreds, wallabies licking their burnt paws and koalas guzzling water offered by cyclists, and it breaks my heart. These gentle, innocent creatures need our help. We did this. We can help make it better.

If like me you feel helpless and stirred, wanting to help and not knowing how, the best places to donate are:

Salvation Army has deployed its emergency service teams to evacuation centres in NSW and Queensland to provide food and water, along with emotional and practical support to emergency services personnel and people who have been displaced by the fires. They are hoping to raise $3m for their emergency appeal.

Riverina Police: Donations for animals (fodder etc) can be offered by contacting a central number at 1800 814 647

This is the donation link for the port Macquarie koala hospital:

Thank you for the care in your heart – for any ounce of love and support you can offer to those in pain, in fear, or displaced during this time. It really does make a difference. We must find what is good and true and beautiful within us, to help heal the scarred and hurting places in ourselves and the planet. Thank you. I love you.

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