The Thompson Okanagan is a region that has been physically and economically impacted by forest and bush fire. We are acutely aware of the speed and consequence of a fire’s fury - yet even we cannot imagine the depth of grief and helplessness Australians are experiencing.
Accelerated by climate change, the Australian bush fires have claimed 26 lives with the loss of wildlife estimated at more than one billion animals. Not yet halfway through the summer fire season temperatures are breaking global records as prolonged drought exasperates fire suppressant efforts.
Today it is estimated that ten million hectares of habitat has been consumed by the flames. Habitat that provides food and shelter for koalas, kangaroos, and wombats representing a few of the 244 species of animal unique to Australia. Habitat that is home to the Indigenous people of the continent.
Landmass larger than the 9,723,230 hectares that make up the Thompson Okanagan Region of the BC interior, has been devastated. Damage to one of the planet's great biodiversity hot spots further compromises wildlife recovery as animals that survive the fire itself may succumb to starvation, dehydration, and loss of shelter in the aftermath.
The consequence of climate change is no longer deniable. Images of scorched animals, exhausted firefighters, grieving families and gutted homes compel us to help - yet we wonder how another drop in a bucket can have an impact when a tidal wave of support is needed.
While individuals and fundraising events have raised millions of dollars for urgent relief it will take years of investment to support the recovery of a continent changed forever.
BeadTrails Experience is asking for your support of our grassroots fundraiser. Drop by drop, bead by bead we will help fill buckets with desperately needed funds for as long as we need to.
Drop by Drop, Bead by Bead
The koala is one of the most adored animals in Australia, it is also one of the most critically impacted by the bushfires. Too slow to outrun the inferno, it climbs up into the sheltering arms of the eucalyptus trees that represent safety and shelter to them. Trying to rise above the flames that burn too hot for escape they are quickly overwhelmed by heat and searing smoke. Those that crawl out of the forests are often burned, severely dehydrated - suffering from severe smoke inhalation and heat stroke.
Koalas are only one species among the millions of animals perishing in the flames. Already considered in peril of endangerment following decades of environmental destruction, it is now considered by many to be at risk of functional extinction.
With much of its habitat destroyed, this simple, trusting creature is a stark reminder that we must do more, we must speed up our response to Australia while increasing awareness of the consequence of global warming. While climate change is not solely responsible for this catastrophic disaster it is a definitive accelerant and destructive accomplice.
To symbolize the urgency of action, BeadTrails Experience has commissioned a koala bead to be sold at participating BeadTrail partner locations. The bead is available for $8.95 with profits from every sale donated to support the efforts of the 72,000 volunteer firefighters on the ground in Australia.