The Climate Justice
As the climate crisis deepens, it’s become crystal clear: we need solutions that work for all of us, not just some of us.
Cutting emissions alone is not enough.
Around the world, communities are already addressing climate breakdown and creating solutions in ways that make better lives for everyone – no matter where they live, the colour of their skin or the size of their wallets.
It’s time to redesign our institutions and services so they are more reliable, compassionate and fair.
We need to make all Victorian homes safer and more comfortable to live in – and our communities healthier, more resilient and better connected.
That’s why we’re here.
We believe not only can we create a world that works for all of us – we must.
The Climate Justice Legal Project is an innovative partnership between the Federation of Community Legal Centres, Environmental Justice Australia and the Climate Council.
Together we are shining a light on the connection between climate change and social inequality. We are amplifying the voices of people and communities disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis. And we are using the law to empower communities across Victoria to advocate and litigate for climate justice.
We are working together because we believe the climate crisis brings into sharp focus the need to redesign Victoria’s laws, institutions, policies and services so they work for all of us, and not just some of us.
We think all attempts to address climate change must also create a fairer and more just world in the process.
This includes empowering communities to create climate solutions that work for them, and addressing economic insecurity, access to healthcare, child and elder care, gender discrimination and systemic racism.
Get this right, and we can make the lives of all Victorians fairer and easier.
Get this wrong and it will lock in the biggest intergenerational injustice of all time.
What do we mean by climate justice?
Already, people across Victoria are experiencing the impacts of climate breakdown – but not evenly.
Those who have contributed least to this crisis are already paying the highest price: like First Nations communities who have cared for Country since time immemorial, despite mining corporations aggressively harming heritage and land.
People living with polluted air and water, and overstretched health services. Communities living with low wages and insecure work. Families struggling to feed their kids while governments pursue policies that prioritise corporations over the wellbeing of people.
Small towns trying to rebuild, having lost everything in floods and bushfires.
Young people inheriting an unstable world and facing an uncertain future.
People fighting relentlessly for what are basic human rights.
Too often, people in these communities cannot afford to weatherproof their homes or move to higher ground. And when disasters hit, they are more likely to be uninsured or turned away from the places that are supposed to help them.
Lawyers in community legal centres work every day with people experiencing climate injustice.
Often when people seek help at a community legal centre, what might initially look like an isolated legal issue – such as a credit, housing or debt matter – can be exacerbated by climate change.
At EJA, we believe these links between community legal problems and climate breakdown cannot be ignored.
Our current laws and institutions were not designed by people dealing with the reality of climate change. Right now, these systems are failing to serving the diverse needs of many of us – and this unless we rethink them, this will only get worse climate crisis intensifies.
And as the climate crisis deepens, unless we act decisively to embed justice in all that we do, the lives of communities already facing injustice and oppression will become even harder.
The CLIMATE JUSTICE LEGAL PROJECT
- Empowering people accessing community legal centres in Victoria to seek climate justice – even when their legal problems might not initially look caused by climate change.
- Training and supporting community lawyers to identify and address the impacts of climate injustice. Tracking trends in community legal centre data will inform public interest climate litigation, and in turn shape legal and policy reform.
- Identifying issues with our current laws, services and institutions – then taking action in the courts and before government and corporate decision-makers to drive faster, fair and more ambitious policy that serves communities in a climate impacted world.
- Supporting communities to build resilience and agency as they prepare for and respond to climate disasters.
Meet the EJA lawyer leading the project
Katelyn (Kat) Jones is a proud Gubbi Gubbi woman raised on Dharawal and Dharug land. She is committed to centring intersectionality in her practice as a lawyer, and believes amplifying the voices of people with lived experience is the key to effecting meaningful change.
Previously, Kat worked at Consumer Action Law Centre, including as a lawyer on the Koori Integrated Practice Project in partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service. She is one of the youngest speakers to have ever presented at the World Mediation Forum.
Kat holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons). Her honours research focused on health and justice impacts experienced by incarcerated First Nations women based on intersecting race, gender and economic discrimination.