Crafts For Lives

A look inside this disaster; solutions

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Photo by Ruchi Sankolli

A few birds nests that Debby Barne's Crochet group had made. Barnes had started a crochet group in order to help the displaced wildlife in Australia. "It just breaks my heart to see these poor, little animals [suffering]" Barnes said. "Some of them are being burned. I saw a video last month on Facebook of this poor, little koala that was just crying because he was being burned."

Ruchi Sankolli, Reporter

In October of 2019, the continent of Australia broke out in a series of wildfires. Less than a month into the new year, and these wildfires are still raging over many major cities. Trees have been burned to ashes, animals have been displaced and families have been forced to evacuate. 

According to Slate, a magazine company that reports on current events, 26 people are confirmed to be dead, more than 17 million homes have been destroyed and 1 billion animals have died.  

News source Grist.com, who reports on climate, sustainability and social justice, wrote that the fires are hurting our climate by enabling the rapid production of carbon dioxide and smoke into our atmosphere. Scientists also say that the smoke has even reached the stratosphere, the second layer of the atmosphere. 

Many people have dedicated their time to helping Australia, including librarian Debby Barnes.

“It just breaks my heart to see these poor, little animals [suffering],” Barnes said. “Some of them are being burned. I saw a video last month on Facebook of this poor, little koala that was just crying because he was being burned.” 

Barnes began a crochet group to create some birds nests and joey pouches. These items will later be donated through a hub in Vista, Arkansas. 

“A few months ago, I started following a group on Facebook,” Barnes said. “Through that group and some of the posts that I was seeing, there were a lot of people who were members of some other groups that were finding out about the needs of the rescued wildlife in Australia. There is another group Facebook called Rescue Craft Co, and they were the ones that were really pushing this. Looking at what they needed, I found out that they needed joey pouches. What they needed from crocheters is birds nests or, at one point, mittens for koalas. Which is why I thought ‘Let’s make some birds nests.’”

The company was also in need of hanging bags and bat wraps, which have to be sewn and made of cotton flannel, and joey pouches, which also need to be sewn, and the fabric must be natural.

Barnes said since it is expensive to ship to Australia, there are some people who have made hubs around the country.

“Depending on what state you live in, there is a person that is servicing your state as a hub,” Barnes said. “Everything you make, you will send to that person, and [they] will then make one big shipment to this organization in Australia.”

Barnes encourages the students to make some of the items if they do know how to sew, crochet or knit. The company, Barnes said, is also taking monetary donations.

“We’re talking billions of dollars worth of damage and destruction,” Barnes said. “For these groups to be able to supply living arrangements, food, medical help, and things like that to these animals that have been displaced by the fire [is optimal]. So, money is always a good thing to donate.”