The ongoing bushfire crisis has made this summer an incredibly tough time for many of us. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the 33 people who have died and with the thousands of people who have lost their homes. We are also mourning the enormous environmental toll – the loss of habitat, animals, forests and the future impact of the increased carbon emissions.
But the economic toll of bushfires is also huge, probably flying under the radar and is likely to be impossible to ever accurately calculate. When we think of how Green Connect has been affected and consider that this is only one business and outside of the worst fire zones, it is hard to grasp the scale of the impact.
In the last two months, at Green Connect alone, we have had over 2,500 hours of work cancelled specifically because of bushfires. This includes one large music festival that was called off because a bushfire threatened the festival grounds, and labour hire jobs where bushfire or smoke made working too hazardous.
That means more than $75,000 in wages not earned by our hardworking young people and former refugees.
Meanwhile, at the Green Connect farm, the drought is biting and the heat and smoke are affecting our plants. Farm Manager Cal Champagne wrote in a note to veg box customers that: “We have a generation of crops that were planted in November and December that have simply stalled in their growth, and many of those that have got up the struggle for survival against the winds, dust storms, smoke and radiant heat.” You can read his full letter here.
We know we’re not the only ones. We personally know businesses that have burnt in the fires, producers who have lost their fruit and vegetables, farmers who have lost their animals, and others who were unable to get goods and services in and out due to road closures.
The support for communities affected by the fires has been overwhelming, with goods and money being donated to those in need and the incredible human beings fighting these fires.
When the smoke finally clears, please keep in mind the impact on local businesses. Now, more than ever, we encourage you to buy local. Buy fresh food from local producers, and engage local businesses to work for you.
If you want to support the work that we do, check out the About Us section, buy one of our products or make a donation. Every dollar helps to create more jobs, reduce waste and grow fair food. Good for people, good for the planet.
Sharing our stories helps us to know we are all connected and that no one is in this alone. We would love to hear about other businesses that have been impacted and how we might be able to help. Please comment below or get in touch with us.