Meet Tessa Fluence

Tessa is EJA's strategic communications, digital and media campaigns lead.

Tessa has big dreams for a radically better world.

She believes the law is a powerful tool to move blockers, hold governments and companies accountable, and put justice at the heart of solutions.

She has worked on climate and environmental advocacy campaigns for over 15 years across engagement, strategy, climate communication and narrative research.

I believe we’re in a moment of massive transformation. We’re in the midst of one of the most pivotal, creative and disruptive eras humans have ever experienced.

It’s not a choice – this is happening, whether we like it or not. But while disruption is inevitable, justice is not.

This means our work this decade moment is about so much more than tech and emissions – how we manage the transition matters as much as what we do.

Although the science of climate change and ecosystem collapse terrifies me, I'm determined to do everything humanly possible to make sure this new world we’re building is centred on justice, connection, nature, abundance, joy – all of the good things. It's a kind of stubborn optimism, I guess.

I firmly believe, as humans alive today, we need to try our hardest to make life as good as we can, for all of us.

Aim high and we have a chance of getting there. But aim low – or let the disruption just happen – and life will become much, much harder for most of us.

What gives you hope?

I have three children, a rambling veggie patch and a vibrant local community. Being part of it all and getting dirt under my fingernails – this is the stuff that nourishes me.

Reading about global momentum also gives me hope.

Millions of people around the world have their sleeves rolled up and are working together for climate action and environmental justice.

And we've made some incredible progress over the past decade.

We have most, if not all, the technology and policy thinking we need.

We know what we need to do to deeply cut climate pollution and ramp up solutions.

And there are huge opportunities to transform the systems that are causing so much damage and injustice.

Humans have done and will continue to do extraordinary things, when we put our collective minds to it.

But we still have our work cut out for us...

I've worked in climate communication and environmental advocacy for more than 15 years now – from big NGOs to small campaigns.

I've spent a lot of time learning about the challenges we face, understanding the research on climate communication and barriers to action, and grappling with how to disrupt big systems and create the biggest impact.

I think the legal system and the courts are a hugely important tool to push the transformation in the right direction – to move blockers and to hold corporate and government actors responsible. It’s a powerful way to set precedents that have big ripples, to send clear signals to business, to crystallise risk for shareholders and even transform whole industries.

It’s also a powerful tool in shaping the court of public opinion – to expose wrong doing and demand better.

Years ago, I studied Arts and Law at university, as well as visual communication and a PhD in cultural studies – and I draw on these skills every day. I find it especially handy to have a legal and research background for my work at EJA.

I’ve always loved the power of storytelling, so feel very lucky that I have a job that draws on my skills as a storyteller, researcher, campaigner and strategist – and enables me every day to play my part in making the world a radically better place.

How did you come to work at EJA and what drew you to us?

I love working for an organisation that works for climate and environmental justice, for First Nations justice – and that isn’t afraid to do things a little differently.

I’m a bit obsessed with the idea of transformative impact – of big audacious goals that we might never fully achieve, but even getting part of the way there will help.

And the people at EJA are the very best part of my work – our clients and partners, lawyers, communicators and campaigners – we're a small-ish team of clever people with big hearts.

Tess and the EJA team and Living Wonders clients the Environment Council of Central Queensland.