How we work

AELA’s theory of change is embedded in the emerging theory of human governance called ‘Earth jurisprudence’. Earth jurisprudence, or ‘Earth laws’, propose that industrial societies rethink our underpinning governance systems – including our legal, economic, political and education systems - so we can support, rather than undermine the integrity and health of the Earth.

Our work is multi-disciplinary and brings people together from different cultures, professional backgrounds, and bioregions of Australia. Our work combines academic research, community-based projects, and advocacy and is connected by five core themes:

  • changing culture
  • reconnecting with what matters
  • building community
  • building alternatives, and
  • transforming law and governance

AELA’s vision is to see industrialised societies shift from a human centred, extractivist and 'growth focused' world view and mode of being, to an Earth-centred world view, so that we can live within our ecological limits, create regenerative human societies and nurture the health of the wider Earth community. We are ‘idealistic realists’: we know that shifting industrialised societies from their current destructive relationship with the natural world, toward a healthier future, will take hard work – but we believe a more compassionate, just and Earth centred human society is possible.

Core Themes of Our Work

Please scroll down for more information about our core themes of work.


Theme 1 – Cultural Change

AELA believes it is critical to shift cultural beliefs in Western industrialised societies away from human centredness and unsustainable extractivism, towards an Earth centred, regenerative world view. We work to achieve cultural change, through education, arts programs, and cross-cultural learning, which will in turn drive and support the systemic changes we need to make to our legal, economic, and political systems to nurture the Earth community.

reconnecting with what matters

Theme 2 – Reconnecting with what matters

AELA is committed to enriching the transformation of our governance systems, by ensuring that they are informed and deeply connected to ‘the stuff that matters’. For us, this means that Australia’s governance systems should respect and be informed by: traditional and contemporary Indigenous knowledge, a greater understanding of and respect for the natural sciences and ecocentrism, and a greater acknowledgement of the role that human emotional needs and the human spirit play in driving ecological awareness and change. We believe that as individuals, our love for the Earth community is a key driver for personal and professional action, and can be nurtured to create collective Earth-centred governance systems.

building community

Theme 3 – Building Community

AELA’s work focuses on supporting the role of civil society in creating the long-lasting changes that we need to make, in order to live in greater harmony with the non-human world and create truly regenerative human societies. We believe in the phenomenal energy, expertise and commitment of environmentally focused individuals and community & place-based organisations, and our strategies reflect this focus on civil society (ie non-government and non-corporate sectors of Australian society).

creating alteratives

Theme 4 – Building Alternatives

AELA’s work focuses on creating a positive vision for Earth centred human governance. To do this, we have created a number of important civil society networks that are exploring alternative visions for Australian society, and we are also engaged in a range of practical projects that demonstrate how our current legal, economic and political systems can be, and should be, if we’re to nurture the Earth community rather than destroy it. To date, our work has included: creating the Greenprints initiative, which supports place-based ecological governance; building the New Economy Network Australia which has brought thousands of people together to explore, learn and share what a sustainable economy might look like; creating and facilitating hearings of the Australian Peoples’ Tribunal for Community and Nature’s Rights and other initiatives which are featured on our Systems Change Projects webpage.

transforming governance

Theme 5 – Transforming governance

The ultimate goal of all our work is to transform Australian governance and culture – at all scales, and in all disciplines – to be Earth centred.  This will take time – but our impact has already been demonstrated, in the range of people and community groups who are participating in our programs and courses, and working to create change in their communities and jurisdictions.

Our Programs

Within our core themes of work, we have created a range of programs that aim to implement and achieve our goals. Please visit our program webpages for more details.

Our current programs include: