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February 18, 2009

Help Victims of the Aussie Fire

Bushfire
Australia's Bunyip State Forest burns on February 7, 2009
Photo: AAP

by Brook Wilkinson

Do-gooder travel company G.A.P. Adventures has put out a call for donations to the victims of the bushfires that have raged across Australia in the past few weeks. More than 1,800 homes have been destroyed and 7,500 people displaced by flames that raced across the landscape. The death toll has now reached 200. G.A.P. will match every dollar donated to its Australian Bushfire Appeal and send the total to the Australian Red Cross, which has already set up 20 evacuation centers to provide first aid, food, and shelter to victims.

It's not that Australia is the company's bread and butter--only three of the 903 upcoming trips you'll find on its Web site are to the land down under. And it's not that the fires hit close to home--G.A.P. is based in Toronto (though one of their five brick and mortar "concept stores" is in Melbourne, close to the inferno's ground zero). This is a travel company that has long had an ethic of giving back, even before Condé Nast Traveler named it to our Green List back in 2006. G.A.P. had founded the Planeterra Foundation three years earlier to support local communities, particularly in areas that their clients visited.

Even in lean times like these, every dollar makes a difference.

Further reading:
* Planeterra Foundation
* Responsible Traveler: Making a difference

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