Community involvement in natural disasters

Jamilah Lewis, News Writer

At the end of 2019, Puerto Rico has had tremors and aftershocks on the south coast. A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck them earlier this month, four people died and many others injured.
Also around the same time, fires started to spread around Australia. Millions of acres burned and thousands of homes were destroyed; and all still happening right now.
These fires started in June of 2019 continuing to now. As of now, it’s estimated that these fires have burned 15.6 million hectares (6.3 million acres). And in early January, a 6.4 magnitude quake hit them with 5.9 aftershock in the same area days later leaving one man dead.
Celebrities like actor Leonardo DiCaprio, show host Ellen DeGeneres, and makeup entrepreneur Kylie Jenner have donated and helped fundraise money for Australia.
Organizations like the Australian Red Cross, Salvation Army, Nature Conservancy Australia, and St. Vincent de Paul Society in Australia and some of the many organizations sending relief for the fires.
The American Red Cross had been sending relief for people in need, World Central Kitchen is serving food to people, and OneBlood is a nonprofit blood center sending blood to Puerto Rico.
Teachers and clubs that focus on the environment have also discussed the things happening with the environment. Environmental science teacher Stephanie Gioiosa has talked about it with some of her students to if they were keeping up with the event.
“I’ll ask at the beginning of class what did you see on the news last night or this weekend,’’ she said. “ I just want to pay attention to what’s in the news and related topics,”.
Teachers are also finding a way to put the current events in their teaching. As they look further into what’s going on they find a way to use it in the classroom. Zoobot and science teacher Christopher Stiglic plans on doing just that.
“We’ll make a unit out of it in the next few weeks,” he said. “We’re talking about probably a lot of extinction and going forward hopefully we can learn from some of the things that happened there.”
A teacher that’s involved outside of school is science teacher Regina Slusinski. She’s a Ambassador of the Field Museum of Natural History. She’s also the sponsor for the ecology club.
The ecology club will be keeping up with the fires in Australia; more specifically the animals’ plants and ecosystem in February. And with her work with the Field Museum, she makes sure the members are in the loop of what’s happening there.
“The fires will greatly impact the flora and fauna of the affected areas,” Slusinski said. “Many individuals of many species have been lost injured in this tragic event.”
She encourages people to go to the Field Museum, Brookfield Zoo website, and World Wildlife fund if you want to help.
“Some may be able to be re-released into the wild later,” Slusinski said. “Some may need to remain in captive facilities for the rest of their lives.”
Brookfield Zoo is one of the zoos that have their doors open to the animals that will need new homes.
Another Chicago organization that is donating/fundraising money is the Puerto Rican Agenda of Chicago; which fundraised money for the hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico a few years back in 2017
According to Chicago Sun-Times, the Puerto Rican Agenda of Chicago raised almost half a million dollars towards Hurricane Maria to send them aid. Many Puerto Ricans relocated to Chicago after the hurricane.
They take all donations through their website and have a Facebook and Twitter to keep up with their movement.