Australia is burning. Bush fires are a regular occurrence around this time of year in the country, but this year’s spate of flames has been historically bad; the 14.7 million acres CNN reports to have been destroyed thus far makes this one of the worst years in decades. The majority of that damage, 8.9 million acres, has taken place in the country's most populated state of New South Wales, where nearly 1,300 homes have been destroyed and over 400 more damaged. As of the latest reporting, 24 individuals have died in the fires as well as a third of the koala population in NSW is believed to have perished. More than half a billion animals have died.
Things are bad, and with the hottest months of January and February still ahead, the worst may be yet to come. And as so often happens in times of crisis, coffee companies are stepping up to help raise funds for the relief efforts.
It all began locally with Everyday Coffee, who announced on Christmas Eve they had raised $1,953 to be split between Refugee Legal and the NSW Rural Fire Service. Last week, Market Lane, a Melbourne roaster who announced they would be donating 100% of filter coffee sales from their six cafes to the Red Cross’s Brush Fire Relief Fund. In total they were able to contribute $2,801 from the one-day fundraising event. Inspired by the work of Market Lane, Seven Seeds donated 100% of their weekend filter sales from their Melbourne cafe to the Red Cross, totaling $2,527. And on Sunday, St. Ali announced they would be donating $1 to the Red Cross for every coffee sold “across all venues” for the entire week. Additional fundraising cafes including Paramount Coffee Project, Reuben Hills, Assembly Coffee, All Are Welcome, and many more. This is just coffee—a host of hospitality and food and beverage companies have joined in the effort, with a growing list here via Broadsheet.
The call to action has spread international as well. Tokyo’s Switch Coffee will be donating 100% of filter coffee sales at their two cafes over the forthcoming weekend to the relief efforts. Weta Coffee in Fiji has announced they will be donating 100% of yesterday’s coffee proceeds to helping the firefighting efforts. And Vigilante Coffee in Maryland have joined in the efforts.
Though many of these efforts have already passed, the wild fires rage on and there's still much work to be done. If you're a cafe owner anywhere in the world, consider following the lead of these coffee companies by helping raise funds for the relief efforts. If there aren't any events happening locally and you have the money to spare, consider donating directly to the Australian Red Cross, the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, or the Brigades Donation Fund.
Throughout this week on Sprudge we'll be featuring stories focused on Australia, each with an easy link to donate at the top. Global climate catastrophes impact us all, no matter where you happen to live. Make no mistake: this is all the result of climate change. Let it be a wake-up call.
Top image by Saeed Khan/AFP via CNN