But when it comes to the super rich (like, billionaires), there’s been far fewer public declarations of big donations.
Of course, it’s obviously possible to donate without publicly announcing it. Yet it’s impossible to ignore the fact that, in the aftermath of the horrific fire at Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral last year, billionaires were lining up to pledge money to rescue the landmark. £650m pounds was raised in a matter of days after the fire.
Comedian Celeste Barber has called out billionaires who have failed to donate to help Australia's bushfire crisis but pledged millions of dollars to Notre Dame. She said:
Remember when Notre Dame burnt down - very sad, don't get me wrong, RIP Notre Dame, history, building.
And something like billions of dollars were raised, by I think like a handful of people. Where are those people now?
She isn’t alone. Lots of other people have pointed out the disparity.
Where are all the billionaires who ploughed their money into restoring Notre Dame when Australia is burning to the… https://t.co/BXyiE0Bjem
So why the lack of donation announcements this time?
One reason could be that billionaires might be reluctant to draw attention to climate change – which is widely considered the cause of these fires – because their businesses might have a big carbon footprint. Those who have made fortunes in oil, for instance, might want to make themselves scarce.
Also Notre Dame is a landmark in a world famous city, whereas the Aussie wildfires have mostly affected rural, sparsely populated areas. Perhaps the cathedral occupies a special place in the hearts of the uber-wealthy?
Regardless, surely it isn’t too much to ask for the world’s richest people to match their commitment to the cathedral in order to save lives and wildlife?
Though it's also worth mentioning that numerous reports claimed that many of the billionaires who pledged to save the cathedral didn't pay up, leaving the landmark to be saved by smaller donations.
So perhaps we should stop relying on billionaires to come to the rescue.