After months of intense havoc, the bushfire crisis that ravaged Australia has finally come to an end. The country lost an estimated one billion animals (some of which are endangered species). 18.6 million hectares of land (an area roughly the size of Cambodia) went up in flames. Thousands of buildings destroyed, and at least 34 people were killed. Mercifully, torrential rains arrived in early February, helping fire fighters all over the country subdue the blaze.
The effects were devastating and the road to full recovery will be a long one. But Australia is not alone in the fight.
Ever since the government had declared a state of emergency in November 2019, donations poured in from all corners of the globe. Both financial and non-financial aid came from big corporations like Unilever and McDonalds, fashion giant Kering, as well as Hollywood. Celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth, Rebel Wilson, Russell Crowe, Kylie Minogue, Nicole Kidman, Novak Djokovic, Kylie Jenner, and more sent help.
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Join me today in becoming a Koala Hero by supporting the #KoalaComeback Campaign! This powerful image, called ‘Survivor’ comes from photographer @DavidYarrow, who has launched the campaign with @wild.ark to raise $2 million to support recovery efforts in Australia. Make a small donation (see link in bio for @DavidYarrow) to receive and share a digital print and help make this campaign go viral. Fifty percent of the proceeds raised through this campaign will be directed to @EarthAlliance ’s Australia Wildfire Fund, and WildArk will use the remaining donations to support local organizations working on wildlife rehabilitation and habitat restoration. Wildlife experts estimate that more than a billion animals have been killed, including up to 30 percent of the koala population living in New South Wales. This is particularly devastating for the country with highest rate of mammalian extinctions on Earth. “‘Survivor’ portrays the heartbreaking bleakness of this crisis, but it also serves as a symbol of hope for the future; the solidarity behind this effort has been inspiring,” said WildArk CEO John Hardman. “The koala, as an iconic Australian animal, represents all of the wild places in need of restoration. Supporting species rehabilitation and habitat restoration on Kangaroo Island and throughout New South Wales and Victoria will be essential for the koala recovery process and for the thousands of other species who are represented in these targeted areas.”
Not forgetting Queen and Adam Lambert’s kickass performance at the Australia Wildfire Benefit.
Time To Act
Several luxury watch brands also pitched in. At the Watch & Act! world watch auction, some very special timepieces went under the hammer.
Between 21st and 31st January, 24 watches from 22 brands raised a grand total of A$200,000 in bushfire relief money. Two of them were unique pieces specially created for the auction.
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue Australia couldn’t be more appropriate for this cause. It’s the first and only model of its kind to be crafted in a bronze case (instead of steel) and has a special engraved back depicting a Canadair CL-415—the amphibious aircraft used for water-bombing fires.
Hublot also created a unique piece. The Classic Fusion Watch & Act! Edition featured a black ceramic case, a carbon fibre bezel, and a shimmering blue dial.
Another very special lot was the personal watch of U2 bass player Adam Clayton. It was a H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Centre Seconds with a gorgeous funky blue fumé dial and no logo.
Dive watch specialist Doxa participated with a Sub 200 “130th” anniversary limited edition model. This sturdy tool watch combines a strong legible dial with a rice-grain steel bracelet for a cool retro-chic vibe.
Above & Beyond
British label William Wood Watches also submitted a one-time limited edition for the auction. But that’s not all. As sustainable luxury is a big part of its DNA, the brand famously upcycles fire-fighting materials in its watches, and donates a portion of its profits to the Fire Fighters Charity in the UK.
Its latest Valiant collection for instance is an automatic dive watch using straps made from upcycled fire hoses, and crowns made from a melted 1920’s London Fire Brigade helmet.
Other brands include Seiko, Oris, Montblanc, Bulgari, Frederique Constant, Rado, Bell & Ross, TAG Heuer, and Longines.
All proceeds from the Watch & Act! auction will be distributed across five charities; two rural fire services groups, two wildlife rescue groups, and one fund created specifically for the south-east region of Victoria, which was particularly hard-hit.