Who we are
Environmental Justice Australia is a national public interest legal centre.
We use the law to empower communities, to protect and regenerate nature, to safeguard our climate and to achieve social and environmental justice.
Our team has some of the best lawyers and campaigners in the country. Together we litigate. We advocate. We collaborate.
For more than 30 years, we have delivered long-lasting protections for nature and community.
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.
Communities experiencing disadvantage bear the brunt of environmental harm.
Our challenge is vast.
The next few years are critical.
Our vision is a legal system that delivers environmental justice for communities and protects and regenerates nature.
This looks like:
- Healthier, more empowered communities
- Thriving ecosystems that are more resilient to what lies ahead
- Communities have access to justice and can advocate for protections
- First Nations people are legally recognised for their vital role in protecting Country
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 test the boundaries of existing laws and where they fall short, we drive vital law and policy reforms to strengthen our legal system.
We expose problematic power structures and fix the flaws in our legal system that lead to environmental injustice.
Our work has a big impact
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.
What is environmental justice?
Regardless of your postcode or income, gender, abilities or the colour of your skin, 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 all people 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.