A few years ago, a group of young anthropology graduates from the University of New South Wales decided to go for a bike ride in New South Welsh, a state on the Gold Coast.
While there, they discovered the local tourist area was being ravaged by bushfires.
“The fires were raging,” one of the students told the ABC.
“I knew there was a huge problem and I decided to take the bike there and see for myself.”
It was there that the students realised the true extent of the damage that was being done.
“We thought, if we go there we can help, we can put a stop to it, and then maybe we can take some money and go back and do something different,” one student said.
The students, including the author, decided to raise money to go and survey the bushfire-ravaged area, which they did by bike.
They soon realised that the only way they could make a difference was to document the devastation.
One of the boys, who was 17, said it was a “really difficult” task.
“It was really rough,” he said.
“There were bushfires, fires on the road, fires in the bush, the houses burned.
It was very tough.”
He said the only other way to help was by donating their bike.
“In the bush it’s pretty tough,” he added.
“They’re always trying to kill us.”
The group eventually collected more than 500 donations and the rest went to the University’s conservation department.
“People were saying it was amazing,” one participant said.
They took a few days to collect the donations, which were donated in a single bag.
They collected the money and then took the bikes back to the university and set off for Tasmania to survey the damage.
“You’re just like, well, what do we do?
How do we help them?” one of them said.
Their trip was a success.
The group also found out about the Australian government’s plan to help the state with bushfire management.
“When we were going to Tasmania, they said that they’d set up a $100 million fund and we’d donate the money to the state, which was fantastic,” one person told the news program.
“But then it turned out they’d only been going for $500,000.
So we’re going to give $500 million and they’ll get a whole lot of help.”
Another student, who did not want to be named, said the trip was “like, we’re really going to help these people”.
“We were really excited,” he told the program.
He said he had a feeling they would be doing a good job.
“If you’re a student and you get out there and you’re working on something, and you want to give something back, it’s great,” he explained.
“Even if you’re in the wilderness, you’re still doing something good for society.
It’s really nice to see that we’re doing something.”
The students’ experience has inspired them to become a more sustainable force in the world.
They now have an international program, called the Sustainable Humanities Initiative, which aims to encourage students to give back to their communities through their work in the field.
The University of Sydney is a member of the Sustainable Humanity Initiative.
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