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Billie Eilish becomes the latest celebrity to draw attention to climate change

Maddie Blaauw

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Billie Eilish

The list of celebrities who have become vocal advocates of climate change has increased exponentially over the recent past. A growing group of recent celebrities to contribute include Miley Cyrus and Shawn Mendez, adding to others who have been supporters of the movement for a while, such as leonardo dicaprio or Mark Ruffalo. Now joining them is singer Billie Eilish.

Who is Billie Eilish?

Ever since releasing her single “Ocean Eyes” in 2016, singer Billie Eilish has gained a rapidly expanding following. After the release of her debut album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” in March 2019, that following has blown up. 

Billie Eilish’s first album hit the top Billboard 200 spot in United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Four if its songs reached the Billboard Top 40, one of which became a number-one single in the United States. She is the only artist born in the 2000s to have recorded a #1 single so far. Her videos have more than 3.7 billion views on Youtube. At 17 years old, she has an extremely strong influence on popular culture today.

“Our House Is On Fire”

On Saturday, Billie Eilish released a video titled “Our House Is On Fire”. In it, she and Woody Harrelson talk about ways that watchers can reduce their impact on the climate. They also urge listeners to collaborate to create change at the national level. Eilish and Harrelson make references to recent environmental disasters throughout the video, including the recently confronted Amazonian forest fires. The video clocks in at just over a minute in length. It reached number one on the Youtube trending page and 750 thousand views in 9 hours. 

“History shows us that when enough people rise up and demand change, those in power have no choice but to act,” Harrelson urges viewers. Eilish also presents various changes to “live in a greener lifestyle”. Her suggestions include “cutting out meat and dairy in your diet and reducing plastic use.” 

The duo urge their audience to get involved in movements like Greenpeace and Fridays for Future. Greenpeace is a non-governmental organization dedicated to empowering everyday people to help find nonviolent solutions to climate change. Fridays for Future, also known as School Strike for Climate, is a protest in which youth miss a day of school to spend the day protesting for climate action. The founder of this movement is teen activist Greta Thunberg

Past Advocacy

This is not the first time Billie Eilish has supported the movement to combat climate change. In the description of her song “all the good girls go to hell”, from her 2019 album, she wrote the following note: 

“Right now there are millions of people all over the world begging our leaders to pay attention. our earth is warming up at an unprecedented rate, icecaps are melting, our oceans are rising, our wildlife is being poisoned and our forests are burning. on september 23rd, the UN will host the 2019 Climate Action Summit to discuss how to tackle these issues. the clock is ticking. on friday september 20th and friday september 27th you can make your voice be heard. take it to the streets.” 

Various lyrics in the song itself also echo fears of the consequences of increasing temperatures. Lines like “Hills burn in California” and “once the water starts to rise” are accompanied by visuals of an oil-covered scene catching on fire. 

Ultimately, in all of her messages thus far on climate change, Eilish focuses on a very important point: change will not happen unless we make it happen. This can be through actual protests or less confrontational methods, like voting at least partially based on climate policy this November. Specific method of involvement does not matter as much as the act of being involved at all does.

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How Can YOU Help In The Fight Against The Australia Fires?

Maddie Blaauw

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Wildlife rescuer Simon Adamczyk carries a singed koala from the smoldering remnants of gum forests on Kangaroo Island on January 7.

Australia fires have burned an area twice the size of Maine in the past few months.

Authorities report that at least 25 people have died. Two thousand homes have been destroyed. Tens of thousands have been urged to leave their homes due to spreading flames and declining air quality. 

What’s even more alarming are estimations for affected animals. Some 600,000 different species are contained in the area burning, and many are completely unique to Australia. Based on calculations from Professor Christopher Dickman of the University of Sydney, 1 billion animals have died.

And Australia still has another month of fire season left.

So how can we help?

How to Help Affected Families of the Australia Fires

There are two main groups that are hurting because of the fires: people and animals. Some ways to help out the displaced people due to Australia fires include: 

1. The Australian Red Cross (for Communities)

Helping out with medical aid, food, and shelter, this organization has sent over 1,200 people to affected communities to help meet the increased need in their 70 evacuation and recovery centers. 

Australian actor Dacre Montgomery, who starred in “Stranger Things”, set up a GoFundMe page to gather funds for the Australian Red Cross.  Help reach the goal of raising $500,000 here.

2. Australia Wildlife Fund (to Increase Firefighting Efforts)

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Earth Alliance donates $3 million to help the people affected by the fires by funding firefighting efforts and supporting the damaged communities.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s Earth Alliance donates $3 million to help the people affected by the fires by funding firefighting efforts and supporting the damaged communities.

This organization was started by a $3 million donation from Leonardo DiCaprio’s Earth Alliance. It first aims to help the people affected by the fires by funding firefighting efforts and supporting the damaged communities. The Australia Wildlife Fund will also dedicate funds to wildlife, both in the most urgent times and after the fires to restore ecosystems. Donate here

3. New South Wales Rural Fire Service (for Families of Firefighters Who Passed Away)

Battling the Australia fires is a dangerous job. Thousands of brave men and women are risking their lives to limit the damage of the fires. They don’t always come home; three have lost their lives so far in this wildfire season. The New South Wales Rural Fire Service is accepting donations for the families of those firefighters here. 

How to Help Impacted Animal Habitats

Wildlife affected by the fires need aid right now, but they will also need new habitats when the fire season is over. The organizations below have laid out plans to tackle one or both of these issues. 

1. WIRES (for Wildlife Rescue)

New South Wales Wildlife, Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc. is the country’s largest wildlife rescue organization. WIRES volunteers carried out over 3,300 rescues in December alone. Donate here.

2. Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital (for Injured Animals)

Run in part by Steve Irwin’s daughter, this zoo has started the Wildlife Warriors program, which is raising money for new enclosures to house the influx of flying foxes and koalas injured in the fire. Help build these new facilities by donating here. 

3. World Wildlife Fund Australia (Planting Trees and Restoring Lost Habitats)

The WWF Australia has set a goal of planting 10,000 native trees.
The WWF Australia has set a goal of planting 10,000 native trees.

One of the organizations mainly focused on the repercussions of habitat loss, the WWF Australia has set a goal of planting 10,000 native trees in what were previously highly populated koala habitats.

Their action will begin at the conclusion of the fire season and are accepting donations here

Companies That Have Provided Support During the Australia Fires

Airbnb is offering temporary free housing to those in New South Wales and Melbourne. Photo Credit: Thomas Trutschel
Airbnb is offering temporary free housing to those in New South Wales and Melbourne.
Photo Credit: Thomas Trutschel

Another way to help Australia is to support companies who have helped the country fight the fires. Airbnb, for example, has offered temporary free housing to those in New South Wales and Melbourne, the places the fires’ effects have been the worst, who have been displaced.

Amazon contributed AU$1 million to aid fire relief efforts. Coca-Cola Amatil has given paid leave to workers volunteering with emergency services to fight the fires and provide relief, and 250,000 bottles of water to volunteers.

Additionally, several retail chains in Australia like Levi’s and The North Face pledged to donate 100% of profits from a day last week to the Australian Red Cross.

Beyond Donations: What Should Businesses and Government do About the Australia Fires

Donations now, or helping out however you can, is, of course, selfless and highly impactful. However, we also need to think about how these fires could look in the future if current environmental practices around the world continue.

Australia gets flamed for its climate inaction
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other political leaders have a role to play too.

While climate change may not have started the fires, the increased temperatures dry out plant material, essentially increasing kindling for the fires, making it easier for them to grow and spread.

In 2018, Australia’s national science agency and Bureau of Meteorology concluded that a 1 degree Celsius rise in temperatures has likely contributed to increased intensity in the Australia fires. 

Hopefully, these fires can help spur some changes in environmental policy worldwide. So even if donating is not possible at this time, help out Australia by pressuring businesses and governments to put in place more environmentally friendly practices.

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Meet Leah Namugerwa: The 15-Year-Old Leading Climate Activism In Uganda

Haider Sarwar

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Greatly inspired by Greta Thunberg’s activism, 15-year-old Leah Namugerwa has made strides in advocating for climate justice in Uganda. With increasing droughts and other adverse effects of climate change, the need for attention is vital. Both motivated and determined, Namugerwa puts her faith in the younger people of Uganda.

How Climate Change is Affecting Uganda

Namugerwa has been a witness to many of the negative effects that climate change has led to. From environmental degradation to the inability to grow crops, climate change is affecting Ugandan people in all aspects of life. Moreover, in a report released by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), the problems are accumulating.

Droughts collectively affected 2.4 million people from 2004 to 2013. Moreover, between 2010 and 2011, droughts caused an estimated damage value of about $1.2 billion. That’s equivalent to roughly 7.5% of Uganda’s GDP in 2010.

In addition, climate change will lead to a 1.5-degree increase in Uganda’s average temperature by 2030. With the increasing temperature, Uganda is susceptible to environmental degradation, which has already begun. Furthermore, all these factors are causing the agricultural sector of Uganda to falter.

Leah Namugerwa has not been a silent witness to all of this; the teen hopes to incite change within Uganda.

Who is Leah Namugerwa?

Following the footsteps of Greta Thunberg, Namugerwa began protesting for climate action every Friday. Skipping school and facing a lot of opposition, Leah Namugerwa was adamant to get her message across. Soon, the teen was able to rally many other Ugandans for the cause. Her biggest goal, apart from enforcing current climate legislation, is to bring attention to climate change.

Being a major player in the protests in Uganda, many fear for Namugerwa’s safety. Replying, she says, “My safety? I think that will make more climate awareness, if they try to [arrest me]” she states. “If that happens, [the media] will have to come.”

Namugerwa’s family was especially reinforcing for her protests. In fact, Namugerwa’s uncle, Tim Mugerwa, is part of Green Campaign Africa. This organization supports Fridays for Future Uganda. Furthermore, Mugerwa plans to run for president in 2021 on a green platform.

Leah Namugerwa’s Faith is in the Young People of Uganda

The median age of Uganda is about 16 years old. Namugerwa admits that the education of her younger peers is essential in gaining support for climate action. By educating her peers, Namugerwa hopes to create a lasting impact on Uganda.

For now, Leah Namugerwa calls for everyone to actively get involved in the fight against ecological breakdown.

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Meet Quannah Chasinghorse: The 17-Year-Old Leading Climate Activism in Alaska

Haider Sarwar

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Quannah Chasinghorse

“We shouldn’t have to tell people in charge that we want to survive. It should be our number-one right. We should not have to fight for this.” Those are the words of 17-year-old Quannah Chasinghorse, who stood in front of a sea of delegates at the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) 2019 Convention in Fairbanks.

Heavily involved in advocating for rights for the indigenous people of Alaska, Quannah Chasinghorse is part of the Gwich’in and Lakota Sioux tribes. Her biggest goal? To put into focus the damaging effects of climate change on the indigenous populations of Alaska.

Alaska is Facing the Brunt of Climate Change

In a report released by the National Climate Assessment (NCA), Alaska is warming twice as fast as the rest of the country.

Furthermore, these disastrous effects are hitting the indigenous populations of Alaska extra hard, too. The quicker seasons and the warmer days present many risks for indigenous Alaskans.

These risks include threats to food supplies and higher costs for infrastructures. Furthermore, some indigenous villages have had to relocate due to coastal erosion from climate change.

Youth activism has undergone a surge in the past year due to these irreversible changes. In the spotlight, Chasing Horse and her 15-year-old partner Nanieezh Peter are determined to make a change.

Quannah Chasinghorse Speaks at the Alaska Native Convention

At the Alaska Native convention, Chasinghorse brought attention to the report released by the NCA. Thousands of Alaska natives at the convention heard the teen’s arguments.

Moreover, she provided for a generational lens by drawing to her own experiences with climate change. Chasinghorse explained how the youth are more keen on how climate change is changing everyday life.

Both Chasinghorse and Peter expressed deep sorrow for the generations that will come after them, presenting their own climate change resolution to the delegates.

Their resolution called for AFN voting members to recognize climate change as a state of emergency. It, unsurprisingly, faced a lot of opposition from those who had interests in oil and gas reserves along the North slope.

With concerns about the resolution tampering with the lucrative business opportunity, the vote for the resolution was not unanimous. But on December 21, delegates of the Alaska Federation of Natives passed the resolution.

Quannah Chasinghorse Hopes to Continue to Spread the Word

Chasinghorse and Peter join the likes of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and clean-water activist Autumn Peltier in urging leaders to declare a climate emergency.

Both teens are adamant in standing up for their communities in these times of change. And rightfully so.

Something must be done to help the communities that face the brunt of climate change.

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