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Who we are

 

We are a national public interest legal organisation. We use the law to protect nature and safeguard our climate. We support First Nations people fighting for Country and Culture. We empower communities to put justice at the heart of action.

We run landmark court cases and legal interventions to hold power to account. To compel governments to act. To transform industries. To create environmental justice so we all have good lives, today and tomorrow.

For more than 30 years, we have used a powerful combination of litigation and legal advocacy campaigns to deliver long-lasting protections for nature and community.

We are courageous, creative and determined.

We are proudly non-profit, non-government, and funded by donations from the community.

We exist because we are living in a climate and extinction crisis.

It is impacting us all, but not evenly.

Our challenge is vast.

The next few years are critical.

We believe the law is a powerful tool to get us on the right path.

 

Our vision

Our vision is a legal system that delivers environmental justice for communities and protects and regenerates nature. 

Where:

  • Our communities are healthy, vibrant and empowered to participate in decision making and have access to justice
  • Ecosystems across this continent are thriving and resilient to whatever lies ahead
  • We are on a path to stable climate and climate justice is at the heart of action
  • First Nations people play a vital and legally-recognised role in caring for Country and Culture.

OUR FOCUS

DEFENDING NATURE

We use the law to protect and regenerate vital ecosystems on the brink of collapse.

CLIMATE JUSTICE

We run public interest litigation and legal interventions to put justice at the heart of climate action.

ENDING COAL POLLUTION

We empower communities experiencing environmental harm from coal pollution to seek justice.

FIRST NATIONS JUSTICE

We provide legal support to First Nations people fighting for Country and Culture.

Our change
strategy

 

Build community power

Hold government to account

Fix flaws in our legal system

What we do

We empower communities who bear the brunt of environmental harms with legal and advocacy support.

We partner with community groups and collaborate across the health and environment sectors to drive powerful advocacy campaigns.

We pioneer research, influence public debate and build community support to tackle environmental injustices.

We hold governments and corporations to account in court when they fail to protect our air, water and wildlife.

We run bold strategic litigation to set legal precedents that drive systemic change and deliver long-lasting protections for people and nature.

We drive vital law and policy reforms to strengthen our legal system, to protect nature and our climate, and put environmental justice at the centre.

We expose problematic power structures and fix the flaws in our legal system that lead to environmental injustice.

What is environmental justice?

Environmental justice is at the heart of everything we do.

Regardless of where you live or who you are, we believe all people should experience fair treatment and meaningful involvement in the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. 

Environmental justice also means everyone should have clean air and water and healthy forests and ecosystems.

It is also justice for nature – because all living things have a right to thrive.

Read more about our commitment to environmental justice, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Our work has a big impact

Our history

For more than 30 years, we have delivered environmental justice for nature and the community. We started out as a government-funded community legal centre. Now we are a community-powered national organisation.

Back when we were the Victorian Environment Defenders Office (EDO), we provided legal advice and representation to hundreds of people and community groups fighting to protect our land, air and water.

In 2014, when our government funding was cut, we saw an opportunity to build a new kind of public interest legal organisation. We realised the law can be a powerful enabler of social change but also a powerful blocker. We built our capacity to drive systemic change where the law falls short with compelling advocacy campaigns. And we expanded our work to other parts of Australia, making us the first national legal organisation dedicated to environmental issues.

We carry forward a proud legacy of working with the community to fight for environmental justice as we tackle the most pressing issues of our time.

In recent years, we pioneered climate risk litigation globally, filing the world’s first legal action against a superannuation fund for failing to adequately consider climate change risks.

Our groundbreaking court cases to stop logging in ancient native forests and threatened wildlife habitat prompted Bunnings to ban the sale of native timbers and forced governments to end logging in Victoria’s old-growth forests.

Our national clean air campaign put the health impacts of coal pollution on the map, initiating Parliamentary Inquiries and driving vital law and policy reforms to protect community.

 

Give nature a legal voice

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