As the wildfire rages on in and around Fort McMurray, in my home province of Alberta, my thoughts are with the tens of thousands of people who have been forced to leave their homes behind, seeking refuge in Edmonton, nearby towns, camps, and in the Beaver Lake Cree Nation. This is truly devastating for everyone involved and people need our help. I no longer live in Alberta but there are a number of things I can do to help from Ottawa, just as everyone can help from wherever they may be.
First and foremost, we can contact the family and friends we have in Fort McMurray and the surrounding area to make sure they are okay and are able to find a place to stay. You can contact the local municipality to locate someone you may not be able to contact by other means at 1-(780)-762-3636. Beyond that, we can donate to the Red Cross as they mobilize to help everyone effected by the wildfire.
There’s also something we can do long-term to help the people of northern Alberta, among others. We can combat global warming. A recent study published in the journal Climatic Change found that the frequency of wildfires will continue to rise as the temperatures rise, leading to a longer wildfire season in Alberta and around the world. By curbing climate change and preventing temperatures from rising even further, we can limit the number of forest fires that burn through our forests, fields, farms, towns, and cities.
This is a time for action and each and every one of us is able to answer the call to do more. Donate to the Red Cross and help those immediately effected by the wildfire. Keep in mind, even after this fire has passed, the long-term and negative effects that Canada’s current environmental and economic strategies have on our communities and our planet. Ecology Ottawa is fighting climate change at the local level, in part, to prevent the rise in frequency of the type of event we are all witnessing and experiencing from Fort McMurray today. Your help in that fight is invaluable; donate, volunteer, come to events, and help us work towards the healthier, safer, greener community we know is within our reach!