Like so many of us, Elton John has been heartbroken by the images of the millions of animals — potentially 1 billion, actually — who’ve been killed or hurt in the devastating brushfires that have consumed more than 18 million acres in Australia during the nation’s most disastrous fire season in history. But the Golden Globe-winning songwriter also happens to have the resources to do something about it.
On Tuesday (Jan. 7) during a show at the country’s Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, John pledged $1 million to help combat the fires that have been raging since September as 130 blazes continue to burn out of control, taking the lives of at least 25 to date. Joining the likes of reunited children’s act The Wiggles, Kylie Minogue, P!nk, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman and other celebrities who’ve made six-figure donations or scheduled benefit concerts to aid firefighting causes, John announced during his first of two shows this week at the arena that he was stepping up to help.
John announced his donation while making a plea on behalf of the nation’s endangered animals and affected citizens. “We should all be in the awe of the work the firefighters are doing,” John, 72, said. “There are people out there who have lost their lives trying to save homes, there are people who have lost their lives and their homes. And lastly, there’s the plight of the animals, a loss of their habitat that, frankly, is on a biblical scale and it’s heartbreaking. Therefore tonight, I will be pledging $1 million dollars to support the bushfire relief fund.”
John added that it breaks his heart to see what is happening to the beloved country he’s been visiting since 1971. “We have to come together and we have to fight. This is my bit towards it. I love Australia so much,” he said.