Australia is not unfamiliar with bushfire - it has shaped the country’s ecological balance into what it is today. But this balance has been offset by climate change, with close to a decade of droughts and record-breaking temperatures leading to a catastrophic and seemingly endless inferno. Thankfully, the fires have eased in the last month, but swift on their tail was torrential rain and flooding, causing what many worry will become compounding extremes, with one climate disaster intensifying the next.
As of February 2020, at least 27 million acres has been burned, over 30 people have lost their lives and over 3000 homes have been lost. A staggering estimate of 1.25 billion animals have lost their lives. This number is expected to increase as the animals suffer from a loss of habitat, shortage of food and access to drinking water. The devastation to sensitive ecosystems is sure to be felt for generations to come. We cannot bring back lost lives, but we can dig in and help replant, restore, and rebuild where possible to help make the environment safe for wildlife and the community.
The service work included in this program has been carefully discussed by community engagement meetings with the locals based at, and around The Crossing Land Environmental Education Camp, in Bermagui, NSW, Australia. We have worked closely with Annette, Dean and the Crossing team for over a decade with whom we partner with for our own sister company Pacific Discovery programs. We have kept in close contact throughout the recent bushfires and it has been really scary and heartbreaking to receive the updates about the damage and losses in their community. Our whole ethos is based around global citizenship and meaningful service learning projects, so there was no hesitation, we needed to get involved to help however we could.
This program will have three factors of service work; an environmental project, a community-based project and a wildlife focused project. Your service work in these areas will make a huge difference to a small community and will earn you a 75-hour Certificate of Service Learning. You’ll leave Australia knowing your time has been spent constructively to help a small community recover. We are hoping to all revisit the area in years to come and see the difference our work has made.
Note this program is also being promoted via our sister organisation Pacific Discovery, so both alumni have a chance to give back.