Bushfires continue to devastate Australia, destroying homes, smothering cities in smoke, and killing people and wildlife alike. Temperatures in some parts of the country have exceeded 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) this week and are expected to climb above 50 (122 Fahrenheit), as part of a heatwave promising to further stoke the blaze. And it isn’t even three weeks into summer.
It’s a crisis, and not just a national one. These bushfires alone have have emitted 250 tons of carbon dioxide since August — nearly half of Australia’s overall emissions for the entirety of 2018.
As Christmas approaches, many Australians are understandably finding it difficult to find the joy of the season. Now, a new art installation in Sydney’s CBD is attempting to revive the holiday spirit despite the haze.
Commissioned by the City of Sydney and the Australian Red Cross, The Burnt Tree is constructed from materials recovered from bushfire-affected areas, from charred tree branches to burnt ceiling fan fittings. The atypical Christmas decoration is intended to show support for people impacted by the fires, and inspire hope in a dire situation. It was created by artist James Dive and advertising agency DDB.
Over seven million acres have been burned in NSW and Queensland alone, killing six people and destroying over 680 homes. The bushfires are expected to continue for months, with Australia forecasting below-average rainfall at least until March.
A tap-and-go EFTPOS terminal has been erected at The Burnt Tree, allowing people to donate to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. For those who can’t make it down to the Tree in person, the Australian Red Cross also accepts donations through its website.
Donations go toward providing affected people with “shelter, psychological first aid, information, and practical support,” as well as training volunteers and purchasing equipment.