- Co-Founder and National Convenor, Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA)
- Co-Founder and Director, Future Dreaming Australia
- Co-Founder and Director, New Economy Network Australia (NENA)
- Adjunct Senior Fellow, Law Futures Centre, Griffith University
- Associate, Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights (CDER)
- Member, Blue Mountains Planetary Health Advisory Committee
- Coordinating Hub, Regenerative Songlines Australia
- Steering Group, International Ecological Law and Governance Association (ELGA)
- Advisory Council, Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN)
- Steering Group, Global Ecocentric Network for Implementing Eco-Democracy (GENIE)
- Board of Management, RIPESS (Intercontinental Network for the Social Solidarity Economy)
- Members Group, Wellbeing Economy Alliance (We-All)
- Member, Taskforce on Earth System Law
- Member, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law
- Member, UN Harmony with Nature Knowledge Network
- Former Executive Committee Member, Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN) 2012-2020
- Former Chairperson, Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) 2013-2017
SUMMARY OF MICHELLE'S BACKGROUND
Michelle is an Earth-centred human with a passionate love of the living world. A descendant of Irish people who were part of the colonisation of the continent of Australia, Michelle grew up in a little country town in outback Queensland, obtained a western education in law, politics and governance and then embarked on a life-long journey of learning, unlearning and decolonising much of the knowledge she learned at school and university. All of Michelle's work is focussed on creating systems change, in order to shift industrialised societies towards an Earth centred culture and governance system.
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 more than 30 years experience designing and managing climate change, sustainability and ecocentric projects in Australia, the United Kingdom, Indonesia and the USA. This includes working in solidarity with Indigenous colleagues in Central Queensland, South East Queensland and many other regions, on a range of community building, sustainability and cultural heritage projects.
Michelle met and fell in love with Earth jurisprudence and Earth Laws in 2009 and since 2011 has been working to promote the understanding and practical implementation of Earth centred governance in Australia, through her work with AELA. Michelle's system change work connects with law, economics, ethics, education, the arts, fostering cross-cultural understanding and decolonising knowledge systems.
Michelle is a lively, entertaining and informative public speaker and enjoys connecting with people through her public speaking, workshops and other events.
MICHELLE'S WORK WITH AELA AND OUR SISTER ORGANISATIONS
The Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) is Michelle's primary platform for working across a range of multi-disciplinary projects and networks.
As Co-Founder and National Convenor of AELA, Michelle manages the strategic direction and governance of the organisation, including the extensive partnerships and networks that AELA has with legal, Indigenous, academic and environmental advocacy communities. Michelle manages and facilitates events, including community workshops, conferences, webinars and the Australian Peoples' Tribunal for Community and Nature's Rights (the APT), and coordinates the work of more than 25 fantastic multi-disciplinary professional volunteers and student interns around Australia. Michelle also leads a range of community education and support initiatives carried out by AELA's Australian Earth Laws Centre.
Michelle also works with a range of Indigenous colleagues and partner organisations, to assist connections between Western lawyers/western education, with Indigenous law and knowledge holders, and to support cross-cultural understanding and the decolonisation of western knowledge and practices in Australia.
Michelle's work includes:
- acting as a co-manager of AELA's sister organisation Future Dreaming
- supporting the coordination of Regenerative Songlines Australia, following the leadership of Indigenous Elders and leaders, and other regenerative practitioners
- coordinating the work of the New Economy Network Australia , in collaboration with other Directors, Hub Coordinators, members and networks
- participating in a range of international and national groups and networks (listed above, in 'other affiliations')
Michelle is passionate about researching and disseminating information about how we can create legal and governance structures to help us live within our ecological limits and nurture the living world. She has edited three books and written numerous articles, chapters, blogs and opinion pieces about Earth centred governance.
Michelle is currently working on:
- "Future Law: How Indigenous First Laws, the Relationist Ethos and Ecological Governance can be a foundation for our future", which is a book being co-authored with Adjunct Associate Professor Mary Graham, University of Queensland & Kombumerri person. The book will be available in 2022.
- Writing a book for Edward Elgar Publishing, titled "Critical Reflections on the Rights of Nature", due out in early 2022.
- A Handbook for Bioregional Governance, as part of AELA's 'Greenprints' project, which will be available in late 2021.
PUBLICATIONS, CONFERENCE PAPERS, INTERVIEWS, PODCASTS
Please click on the links below, to read about Michelle's publications, conference papers, media interviews, podcasts and public speaking events.