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Dr Michelle Maloney

'Mish head shot_June 2012








Other Affiliations


Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science and History) and Laws (Honours) from the Australian National University and a PhD in Law from Griffith University.  She has 25 years’ experience designing and managing climate change, sustainability and environmental justice projects in Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA, and this includes ten years working with indigenous colleagues in Central Queensland on a range of community development, sustainability and cultural heritage projects.  Michelle met and fell in love with Earth jurisprudence and Wild Law in 2009 and since 2011 has been working to promote the understanding and practical implementation of Earth centred law, governance and ethics in Australia through her work with AELA.


As Co-Founder and National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance, Michelle manages the strategic direction and governance of the organisation, including the extensive partnerships and networks that AELA has with the legal, academic and environmental advocacy communities.  Michelle also designs and manages AELA programs and events, including AELA's Rights of Nature Tribunals, and coordinates the work of more than 20 fantastic multi-disciplinary professional and student volunteers around Australia.

Michelle is a lively, entertaining and informative public speaker who has spoken about Earth jurisprudence and Wild Law at more than 120 events over the past five years and is keen to keep connecting with people through her public speaking, workshops and other events.  Her publications, conference papers and public speaking events are listed below.


Michelle is committed to Earth laws education and in 2015 she taught Earth jurisprudence for a semester at the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, in Florida USA. 

Michelle created Australia's first university level course on Earth laws, which was taught at Griffith University Law School in Brisbane, in December 2016.  Michelle now teaches the subject as an annual intensive at Griffith Law School. Michelle introduced Earth laws and Earth centred governance lectures and workshops into Queensland high schools in 2018, and now gives guest lectures and workshops in a number of high schools on a regular basis.  For more information please click here to visit our AELA Education webpage.  


Michelle is passionate about researching and disseminating information about how we can create legal and governance structures to help us reduce consumption and live within our ecological limits.  To this end, she is currently working with AELA's GreenPrints team and GreenPrints Advisory Group to research new models for Earth centred, bio-regional governance, as part of AELA's 'GreenPrints' project. 

Michelle is also passionate about promoting new ways of thinking about environmental governance and the rights of nature. She has recently launched a new research and writing project for AELA called 'Exploring the Legal Status of Nature', and has just completed editing a book with Dr Nicole Rogers of the Southern Cross University, which emerged from the Wild Law Judgements Project. This project involved more than 20 authors rewriting common law judgements from an Earth centred, rather than a human-centred perspective. Information about the book is available here.



Book Chapters and Journal Articles


  • 'Contaminated life - the true cost and human rights impacts of unconventional gas mining in Australia', Online article for 'Questions for a Resilient Future', Center for Humans and Nature ( , 2017
  • 'Earth Arts and RONA16 - Celebrating the Rights of Nature', Earth Song, October 2016
  • 'Earth Jurisprudence and Rights of Nature Tribunals', United Kingdom Environmental Law Association E-News, May/June 2016
  • ‘Earth Jurisprudence, Rights of Nature and Sharing Law’, Stir Magazine, April-May 2015
  • ‘Earth Jurisprudence: Responding to the Great Work’, Earth Song, March 2015
  • ‘Why we’re wild about wild law’, This Next Wave, October 2011



  • 'Responding to the Reports of the Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law (APEEL): Rights of Nature and Bioregional Environmental Governance', at the APEEL Conference, "Better laws for a better planet: a symposium on the future of Australia's environmental laws", University House, ANU, Canberra 28 March 2018
  • 'When objects become subjects: the global Rights of Nature movement, and what it means for Australia", Frontiers Environmental Law Conference, Hobart, February 5-6 February 2018
  • 'The failing of environmental law and why we need Rights of Nature laws", Rights of Nature Symposium, 27 October 2017, Tulane University, New Orleans, USA
  • 'GreenPrints: an approach for implementing ecological economics,' Canadian Society for Ecological Economics Conference, October 2017, Montreal
  • 'The Rights of Nature and AELA's "Exploring the Legal Status of Nature Project"', Legal Status of Rivers Symposium, AELA and CREEL/Melbourne Law School, July 2017
  • 'Threats to land and water in Australia: mega mines and environmental justice', Beyond Mining Symposium, Santiago de Compostela (Spain), 3 March 2017 (co-hosted by the Yes to Life, No to Mining Network)
  • 'Earth Jurisprudence and Responding to the Great Work', Nature in Culture Symposium, Sydney Environment Institute, 23 February 2017
  • 'Teaching Earth Jurisprudence: Building Capacity for Critical Thinking and Creative Problem Solving', Frontiers3, Melbourne Law School 16 February 2017
  • 'AELA's GreenPrints Program and The Role of The Arts', InterCreate Panel, Global Ecologies and Local Impacts Conference, Sydney Environment Institute, Sydney University, 23-25 November 2016
  • 'Next generation environmental law or echoes of 1984? Regulating consumption in industrialised societies", Global Ecologies and Local Impacts Conference, Sydney Environment Institute, Sydney University, 23-25 November 2016
  • 'The New Economy and our Relationship with the Natural World: An Earth Jurisprudence Approach', "Building the New Economy: enterprise, activism and social change Conference", Glebe Town Hall, Sydney 15-16 August 2016
  • 'Regulating Consumption: A Framework for Taking Collective Action', Opening presentation at AELA's "Let's Talk About Consumption" Symposium, Melbourne, 4 March 2016
  • 'Ownership Matters in the Sharing Economy', Panel Discussion for Melbourne Sustainability Festival, 18 February 2016.
  • 'Regulating Consumption: A Framework for Taking Collective Action', Opening presentation at AELAs "Let's Talk About Consumption" Symposium, Brisbane, 28 August 2015
  • ‘Australia’s Response to Climate Change: A Case Study in What Not to Do to Your Carbon Price’, Environmental and Earth Law Summit, Barry University, Florida, USA, 9 April 2015 (invited)
  • ‘Rights of Nature and Protected Areas’, Paper presented at IUCN World Parks Congress, Green Justice Panel, Sydney 17 November 2014
  • ‘The implications of Planetary Boundaries for Earth Jurisprudence and national environmental regulation’, Paper presented at the New Zealand Earth Laws Conference on Sustainability, Wellington, New Zealand, 14-17 March 2014 (invited)
  • ‘Ecological Limits, Planetary Boundaries and Earth Jurisprudence’, Paper presented at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)  Academy of Environmental Law Conference, Waikato, New Zealand 26-28 June 2013
  • ‘Using The Law To Support Community Climate Action,’ Public lecture and panel discussion at the Australian Climate Action Summit Forum, NSW Parliament House, 21 June 2013 (invited)
  • ‘Access to Environmental Justice in Queensland – News from the Trenches’, Presentation to Environmental Justice Symposium hosted by Sydney University Law School, 5 May 2013 (invited)
  • ‘Environmental Justice and the Role of Governments,’ Paper presented at Environmental Justice Symposium, co-hosted by Victorian Environment Defenders Office and Centre for Resources, Energy and Environmental Law (CREEL), Melbourne University, Melbourne, 27 July 2012 (invited)
  • ‘Climate Justice: Gaps and Opportunities in Government Policy’, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility Conference ‘Adaptation in Action’ , Melbourne, June 2012
  • ‘Finding limits for human societies: can Earth Jurisprudence put the brakes on unsustainable consumption?’, Earth Jurisprudence: Building Theory and Practice, Griffith University, Brisbane 16-18 September 2011
  • ‘Next Generation Environmental Law or Echoes of 1984? Regulating Individuals for Environmental Outcomes’, PhD Colloquium, Griffith University, July 2011
  • ‘Limiting Consumption – Wild Law in Practice?’, ‘Keeping the Fire’ Conference, July 2010, Wollongong University
  • ‘Transforming Domestic Consumption Patterns in Urban Water Supply in South East Queensland’, joint paper with Professor Jan McDonald, International Climate Change Adaptation Conference, June 2010, Gold Coast
  • ‘Going Against the Flow: Transforming Urban Water Consumption’, joint paper with Professor Jan McDonald, Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand Conference, December 2009, Brisbane



  • "Food systems and the 2018 Rights of Nature Tribunal", Transition Film Festival, Brisbane 23 March 2018
  • 'How can we change the world?' Evening Seminar/Panel Discussion hosted by QUT Business School, also featuring Professor Will Steffen and Dr Richard Denniss at QUT Gardens Point, 31 August 2017
  • 'Careers in Sustainability', University of Queensland, July 2017
  • ‘Earth jurisprudence and environmental law – what’s in it for you?’ - Public lecture for Environmental Law Students Society, Barry University, Florida, 30 March 2015
  • ‘The Precautionary Principle in theory and practice’ - Public lecture, Miami Dade University, 20 March 2015
  • ‘Earth jurisprudence and the Precautionary Principle’ - Workshop delivered to Earth Ethics Institute, Miami Dade College, 20 March 2015
  • 'Implementing Earth jurisprudence: The Work of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance', Guest lecture, California Institute for Integral Studies, San Francisco, 3 March 2015
  • 'Wild Law and Earth jurisprudence', Sustainable Engineers, June 2012
  •  ‘Wild Law – An Introduction’ - Public Seminar at Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management, Brisbane, July 2011



  • 'Exploring Earth Laws, Earth Democracy and the Rights of Nature', One day workshop, Orbost, Victoria, 6th March 2016
  • ‘Responding to Thomas Berry’s Great Work: The role of lawyers and the work of AELA’ – Workshop presentation, Thomas Berry Colloquium, Edmund Rice Centre Amberley and Centre for Ecology and Spirituality, Glenburn, 8 November 2014 (invited)
  • ‘Should Rivers Have Legal Rights?’ Public seminar with Environmental Justice Victoria and RMIT, 6 November 2014
  • ‘An Introduction to Wild Law and Rights of Nature’ – Public lecture, EcoCentre Sustainability Series, Griffith University, Brisbane, 6 June 2013 (invited)
  • ‘Introduction to Wild Law, Earth Jurisprudence and Rights of Nature – Paper presented at Australian Earth Laws Alliance Workshop, Sydney 3 May 2013
  • ‘Earth Jurisprudence and Rights of Nature’ - Public Lecture, Perth 6 February 2013
  • ‘New Trends in Environmental Law – Rights of Nature and Legal Personhood for Ecosystems’, Public Lecture hosted by Northern Territory Environmental Defender’s Office, 5 December 2012
  • ‘Living Within Our Ecological Limits: the Role of Law and Governance’ - Paper presented at Australian Earth Laws Alliance Workshop, Adelaide, 30 November 2012
  • ‘Earth Governance, Ecological Limits and the Role of Law’ – Paper presented at Australian Earth Laws Alliance Workshop, Melbourne, 17 August 2012





  • RONA18 - Rights of Nature Australia 2018 - a national network of creative events, including a National Exhibition at the Springhill Reservoirs 22-29 October, regional exhibitions and arts responses
  • RONA16 - Rights of Nature Australia 2016 - a national network of creative events, including "Plenty", a national exhibition at the Brisbane Powerhouse; regional exhibitions and arts responses and an Artist in Residence program
  • 2014 - Bundanon Trust ‘Siteworks’, September – Co-organiser of Earth Leaders Lab and Panel Speaker at SiteWorks
  • 2013 - Wild Law Art Exhibition ‘Re-Orientation’ – 25 September to 2 October - in partnership with Associate Professor Marian Drew, Griffith College of Art.
  • 2012 - Guest speaker and participant, “Wild Law Arts Incubator”, organised by De Quincy & Co, Sydney