How You Can Help the California Fire Victims

Since early November, we have been inundated with video footage and coverage of the tragic wildfires happening in northern and southern California that has decimated hundreds of thousands of acres of trees, destroyed animals’ and people’s homes, and taken lives. The severe drought in the state of California is exacerbating these fires and making it extremely difficult to contain. It’s clear that if we do not act soon on mitigating the effects of climate change, we will be seeing more severe droughts and wildfires in California and other drought-prone regions of the world.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

While it seems futile, there are ways to support those affected by the wildfires. Whether it is donating to the firefighters who are bravely risking their lives to save others and contain the flames through the IAFF Disaster Relief Fund, donating to an organization that provides aid to those whose homes are lost to the fires, or donating to a wildlife organization or other wonderful nonprofits that are taking in the creatures whose habitats have been wiped out, you have the ability to contribute in some way, shape, or form.

If you can not make a monetary contribution, that’s okay; you can make a difference in your home, starting with practicing water-saving behaviors:

  1. Fix leaks – the easiest way to save water; imagine how much water is wasted if you let a drip-drip-drip continue over the course of a day, a week, a month?!
  2. Flush with less – fill a 2L bottle or jug and put it in your toilet tank so it fills up with less water after each flush
  3. Take shorter showers – no one has THAT much surface area that they need to be taking 30min-1hr showers…
  4. Turn off the faucet when you’re washing your hands or brushing your teeth – there’s no need to run the water while you’re scrubbing your hands or mid-brush, right?
  5. Reuse pasta cooking liquid – use this water to water your plants, especially the outdoor ones
  6. Go to a car wash – they recycle the water so you don’t have to waste new water to wash your car at home!
  7. Invest in efficient fixtures – many dishwashers are now so efficient that they use less water than if you were to hand-wash your dishes (this is only the case if you run your dishwasher when it’s full though!)
  8. Skip the green lawn – grass sucks up sooooo much water; try xeriscaping instead and embracing plants that do not need much water to stay alive

Lastly, but most importantly, talk about climate change to your friends, family, and colleagues! This should not be a touchy subject, or a partisan issue that people need to dance around. Real people are being affected, real homes are being destroyed, real destruction is happening due to uncontrolled wildfires exacerbated by droughts no thanks to climate change. Your voice is a powerful tool and you should not discount your ability to influence others and enlighten them about the effects of climate change and how we as individuals can address it.

For more tips on how to save water, please check out my previous post here.