Image: Matthew Abbott for The New York Times.
To put in to words the devastation experienced by my home country of Australia in the current bushfire season is impossible. The most up to date statistics I could find of the impact includes 46-million acres of land burnt with over 5,900 buildings (including 2,779 homes) destroyed. Loss of life includes 34 people and an estimated 1-billion animals with some endangered species now being driven to extinction (1). This is an unprecedented bushfire season that started months early in June 2019 (the middle of winter) and is still raging with hundreds of fires still active in almost every state and territory in the nation. How my heart has ached for our land and the world as we begin to face the significant and catastrophic environmental changes being brought about from a warming and mismanaged earth. How we are going to survive this in the long term is something we as a nation are going to have to figure out in a very real way.
The cost to rebuild affected areas, while not yet calculated, will be in the many many billions of dollars. So from the safety of my unaffected Gold Coast home I decided that contributing money was the best way I could help. My family raised and donated just over $400 to WIRES and the NSW Rural Fire Service (not quite the $50mil+ Celeste Barber raised, but hey, it's something). But I really wanted to do more and I knew that the Ava Jewels clan could chip in. And you DID!!! By putting on a huge clearance sale and pledging ALL PROFITS towards the bush fire relief effort I was able to set free some of our favourite styles from previous years and give my customers a way to pledge funds towards the cause. WIN WIN!
I am so thankful and proud of this community. My online store traffic is quite small by global, eco-commerce standards, so my expectation of what we would raise was modest. And considering the funds were being taken from profits of very heavily discounted sale items the margin was at least 25% less than a full priced item. There was also $5 contributed from every "Make Your Own" Mala Kit sold. So I am very proud to announce that we raised a total of $527.05 which I will round up with my own funds to a neat...
I know it doesn't sound like much compared to the thousands and even millions of dollars that other major personalities and organisations have managed to raise, but that is still $600 that would never have otherwise been donated and will go directly to rebuilding this country. I am beaming with satisfaction at that figure. And it really is thanks to those that purchased from Ava Jewels in our January sale.
After much thought and deliberation I decided the funds will be donated to Greening Australia. In the aftermath of these fires there is going to be quite the job of rebuilding our natural environment. The vast amount of burnt forest will need immediate regeneration as well having a long term view of restoring a biodiverse, climate tolerant landscape for our country in the future. I feel incredibly confident in Greening Australia's commitment to this. A recent post from them has stated that “When the time is right – that is, when local communities and critical assets are safe and the immediate danger has passed – Greening Australia stands ready to assist in recovery efforts across the nation, as we’ve done following other fires in the past. We will work with government and partner agencies to prioritise support where we can, as part of long-term bushfire recovery and climate adaptation efforts.”
Thank you to Greening Australia for their commitment to our land. And a huge thank you to everyone that shopped at www.avajewels.com.au in January. A special thanks also to the many international customers. I know that this disaster has hit the hearts of people all around the globe and the human spirit to rise up in support was felt within millions from all reaches of the globe including the US, Singapore, New Zealand and Europe. I am so thankful to you all.
The sale continues and will until all sale items are sold out, so don't worry if you thought you missed out. I will also continue to contribute $5 from every Aquamarine "Make Your Own" Mala Kit sold, indefinitely. Even when these fires are quashed, we will still need support. I am dedicated to do what I can for as long as it takes.
Received with all your love and blessings.