Australia is known as the “sunburnt country” but sometimes it is simply the “burnt country” or the “flooded country” or more than likely the “country in drought”.
Bushfires, floods, and drought have taken a huge toll on Australia over the years, particularly our hardworking farmers. It is a continuous battle for most.
The scale was unprecedented. The wrath of Mother Nature claimed 33 lives, destroyed over 3000 homes and devastated communities. 1.8 million hectares of forest and woodland areas ravaged by her intensity and according to the WWF, the loss and displacement of wildlife is estimated at 3 billion. This figure doesn’t include the ‘hundreds of billions‘ of insects that perished who also play a vital role in our ecosystem, if insects die we all die.
“It is ranked as one of the worst wildlife disasters in modern history,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman. In an infinitesimal moment in time, mere weeks, livelihoods, and our diverse ecosystem that the land and farmers rely on had been wiped out.
The Thirsty Cow initiative is part of our Rewards4Earth Foundation Local Cause mandate. We are committed to help Farmers and their communities rebuild their lives, restore the land and replenish our varied ecosystem from natural disasters that often sweep across our vast continent. Although the Bushfires may have been extinguished, we Australians rely on our Farmers who work tirelessly and, in some cases still need our help more than ever.
The 3 priorities we have in place to help those regional Australians affected are:
- Immediate Need – providing shelter / housing / food / medical assistance and security
- Personal Wellbeing – Mental health support and counselling
- Economic Infrastructure recovery – Livestock recovery, fencing and rebuilding.
To date, we have assisted the Minderoo Foundation in the Bateman Bay area by providing farmers with 97 much needed pre-fabricated, transportable, furnished Dongas to help them get back on their feet costing nearly a 1.5million dollars.
In conjunction, we worked alongside the Mormon church in the Armidale and Tamworth areas running a 6-month campaign for 50 families providing them with monthly dry food hampers, along with weekly fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat.
One of the communities aided was the Ballata town and the wonderful testimonials below are from some of the Ballata School students.
The Thirsty Cow motto is “to give a hand up not a hand out”. We have invested in educational practices for Farmers to learn how to improve and implement better, more effective farming practices. This proactive initiative is an ongoing project.
Our milk-producing states were hit the hardest by the fires. NSW and Victorian farmers suffered a huge loss of farmland and infrastructure damage. With the absence of La Niña, changing precipitation patterns and severe dry weather for two years prior to the bushfires, their pastures were scorched. Recovery and regrowth are challenged by the little water resources they have available. With livestock and farmland destroyed and the continued threat of drought, the road to recovery for farmers and our precious ecosystem will be long and difficult.
The long-term implications of a steep decline in biodiversity impacts our ecosystems that are crucial for our own global food production. According to the UN, wildlife numbers are declining at an ever-increasing scale globally. When forests burn, the biodiversity that humans rely on for their long-term survival is threatened as forests are home to more than eighty per cent of all species of animals, plants and insects.
The smoke has settled since the devastation of the black summer fires, the cameras have stopped rolling and the media has focused people’s attention onto the pandemic. The generous donations from people all over the world have been put to great use, but sadly due to the COVID Pandemic, they have severely diminished. What we need now is NOT just donations, but a better way to fund these initiatives. We need to continue the good work we started to assist these communities as they continue to rebuild their lands, their businesses and their lives. We have a new model where you benefit as well as the community in need, it is all done with Erth ™ Loyalty Points.
We don’t want donations, we just want YOU to earn Erth ™ Points!
The Erth ™ Point system relies on new technology which helps local businesses gain loyalty from local customers. Their customers earn loyalty points which can be redeemed at participating businesses. The customers chosen ECO – Environmental and/or Community Organisation are also rewarded points and in addition, points are also given to our Rewards4Erth ™ Foundation which is committed to Saving the Planet.
In addition to supporting Thirsty Cow, The Rewards4Erth ™ Foundation has also supported by way of donations to the following non-for-profit charities:
Farming is one of the most physically and psychologically demanding occupations, often carried out by those we see as proud, strong pillars in our communities. Due to this view, farmers often struggle to ask for help. The Rewards4Erth ™ Foundation is determined to be prepared for the next emergency in order to provide quick response teams to affected communities and in addition to this, we are working hard to develop vital interventions as a matter of urgency to provide ongoing support for farmers and their communities as levels of suicide, injury and stress are on the rise.
Earn Erth ™ Points, so we can continue our mission of saving the Planet, one ecosystem, one farmer, one community at a time.
Wonderful testimonials from some of the Ballata School students.
Sources: UN environmental programme, nature.com – In the line of fire, nature.com – Wildfires: Australia needs national monitoring agency, nature.com – ‘Deathly silent’: Ecologist describes Australian wildfires’ devastating aftermath, wwf.org.au – New WWF report: 3 billion animals impacted by Australia’s bushfire crisis, bnhcrc.com.au – A staggering 1.8 million hectares burned in ‘high-severity’ fires during Australia’s Black Summer, smh.com.au – ‘Many, many billions’ of animals feared to have died in bushfires, minderoo.org.