On January 10, 2020, Uni Students for Climate Justice, organized rallies in nine cities including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, indicating widespread public discontent after months of increasingly deadly fires. Friday's protests pushed for five main demands: funding for firefighters, relief and aid for affected communities, land and water sovereignty for Indigenous communities, an immediate transition toward renewable energy, and a "just transition" for workers in the fossil fuel industry.
While international donors are important to the bushfire relief effort, (click here for a list of registered charities) we should be aware that our contributions could be letting the government off the hook for inadequately funding the country's firefighting efforts.
Both Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the state government of New South Wales, the hardest hit region, have faced intense criticism for failing to greenlight new funds for fighting forest fires and for instead relying almost exclusively on volunteer firefighters to battle the devastating blazes. This reliance on volunteer firefighters also happens in Canada and the United States, as we face more and more fires in North America.
Support organizing by Australia's youth and force the Australian government to develop policies which will really impact climate change. Stay tuned for toolkits to support similar activism in Canada in the near future.
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