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Ecological Limits

One of the greatest causes of the destruction of the Earth community is the unsustainable consumption of ‘natural resources’ by human societies.  It is estimated that today, humanity uses the equivalent of 1.6 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. If everyone on the planet had the same lifestyle as Australians, we'd actually need 4.8 planets.  (The Global Footprint Network).  And of course, we only have one precious Earth.  If we are to transform our relationship with the Earth community and create a healthy future for all life on Earth, we must learn to live within our ecological limits.

AELA believes it is critical that we create legal and governance structures to help human societies live within our ecological limits.  Our work includes multi-disciplinary research, interactive community workshops, information dissemination and the design of blueprints and practical pilot projects, that help communities at all scales of activity, to create governance systems to live within their ecological limits.

We have two key areas of interest:
(i) how law and governance can be used to create positive alternatives to current growth oriented economic and governance systems – see for example our work on supporting Earth Friendly Organisations and Building the New Economy; and
(ii) how law and governance can be used to help rein in and set parameters around resource consumption.

Current Projects


In 2016-2017 AELA will be hosting a range of small, multi-disciplinary forums and discussion groups, featuring experts from the natural sciences, planning, natural resource accounting, ethics and the arts - to map out the most effective Earth centred governance models for bio-regional ecological health.

If you have expertise that you'd like to share with this project, please contact us, we'd love to hear from you. Please email: .


In 2015-2016 AELA is hosting a national workshop series called: “Let’s Talk About Consumption”.  This workshop series will bring together experts from a range of fields, who will help us understand: current consumption patterns; our ecological footprint and other methods for calculating our impact;  current knowledge about our ecological limits, including Planetary Boundaries; the perceived cultural, economic and political ‘barriers’ which currently make it difficult to address consumption and the legal, regulatory and other responses that we can use to support sustainable consumption in Australian society.

The workshop series invites individuals, community groups and environmental NGOs to share their experiences in working to achieve sustainable consumption in Australia and contribute to a major publication series.  The publications will document current initiatives carried out by civil society, and take civil society responses to ‘the next level’, by developing new bio-regional policies and projects that can help us address the environmental and social problems associated with unsustainable consumption.

The workshop series will also identify legal and regulatory reform to support reduced consumption in Australia.

For details about the workshops being held across Australia, please click here.


Everyone's invited to participate in AELA's National Survey about consumption.  
Click here to tell us about your community's projects and initiatives aimed at reducing consumption and provide your views about the role of law and regulation in supporting a sustainable consumption future.  The ideas, case studies and recommendations generated by participants around Australia will form part of a major publication series, aimed at supporting civil society initiatives and influencing public policy and law reform.

Partners and Expert Advisors

How can you get involved?

If you would like to contribute to AELA’s work on ecological limits, or would like AELA’s ‘Let’s Talk About Consumption’ series to visit your community, please contact:

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