Donating money to save a continent from fires? Hella metal. \m/
According to a statement, musical legends Metallica pledged to donate $750,000 Australian dollars, or a little over $500,000 U.S. dollars to the NSW Rural Fire Service and to the Country Fire Authority in Victoria to aid in the relief efforts, Rolling Stone reported.
“We are totally overwhelmed by the news of the wildfires sweeping through millions of acres across Australia, with major impact in New South Wales and Victoria,” the heavy metal band said. “The resulting destruction and devastating effects on all residents, animals, the environment and the incredible land in Australia is truly heartbreaking. Please join us and do whatever you can to assist.”
The fires, which have been raging for months, have killed at least 25 people, hundreds of millions of animals, and destroyed thousands of homes across Australia, NPR reported. And weather is likely going to make these fires worse, according to the Washington Post, with high temperatures prompting drought conditions that exacerbate bushfires and other burns, CNN reported.
Metallica’s donation also means that the band has secured almost as much money for the climate crisis-fueled disaster than Amazon CEO and richest man alive Jeff Bezos, who pledged $1 million Australian dollars — an amount that totals about $690,000 American dollars, or as GQ puts it, 0.000009 percent of his annual income. Such an amount is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but it also amounts to just five minutes of passive income for the billionaire, according to Business Insider.
Bezos’ company Amazon, which relies on fossil fuels to power the transportation that ships packages all over the world, once threatened to fire its employees for merely speaking about the climate crisis. What’s more, high-speed shipping like the kind that Amazon touts as a core benefit of its Prime membership service has a major impact on the environment.
Yet Bezos’s donation may have been eclipsed by 20-year-old Kaylen Ward, who is also known as the Nude Philanthropist; she reportedly raised somewhere around $1 million (USD) by promising to send personal photos to people who donated at least $10 to help the crisis, according to BuzzFeed News. Elton John and Kylie Jenner each pledged $1 million in aid on their own, while comedian Celeste Barber has raised more than $32 million so far, according to the Verge.
Experts have estimated that the damage wrought by the fires could cost the country at least $3 billion, the New York Times reports. And so far, some of the world’s biggest names have stepped up to help offset that cost. Thor star Chris Hemsworth pledged to donate $1 million, Kylie Minogue and her family pledged $500,000, Australian producer and DJ Flume will donate $100,000, and Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman have pledged a $500,000 together. (It’s unclear if any of those donations are in U.S. dollars or Australian dollars.)