What we do – Australia

AELA's vision is to create human societies that live within their ecological limits, respect the rights of nature and nurture the health of the wider Earth community.  We are 'idealistic realists': we know that shifting our 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.

AELA is powered by committed volunteers, who work together as individuals and organisations to promote the understanding and practical implementation of Earth jurisprudence and Earth centred governance in Australia.


For information about our current projects, please click here.

For updated information about our events, please click here.


Our work is multi-disciplinary and brings people together from different cultures, professional backgrounds and bio-regions of Australia.  Our work combines academic research, advocacy and community based projects and is connected by five core themes: changing culture, reconnecting with what matters, building community, building alternatives and transforming law and governance.  Please scroll down to the text below our graphics, for more information about our core themes of work.

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  • Theme 1 - Cultural Change

AELA believes it is critical to shift cultural beliefs in Western society away from human centredness and return to an Earth centred world view.  Cultural change 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.  To contribute to this cultural shift, we are engaged in the following work:

  • EDUCATION - Raising awareness and providing education about our current legal and governance system, and how it can be transformed to better support the Earth community. AELA runs professional and public education workshops, seminars and events on an ongoing basis.  Please visit our Education webpage and Events page for more details.
  • THE ARTS - Engaging with the Arts and cultural forms of expression and change creation.  AELA launched its Earth Arts program in 2015, and is working with a range of artists and organisations to nurture the role of the arts in transforming law and culture.  Please visit our Earth Arts webpage for more information.
  • CROSS CULTURAL LEARNING AND SHARING - AELA is working to create ways for lawyers and others to learn about and work across different cultures, to enrich the transformation of modern environmental governance.  One of our initiatives under this stream of work is Future Dreaming, our indigenous partnerships program.  Please click here to learn more about Future Dreaming.
  • Theme 2 - Reconnecting with what matters

AELA is committed to enriching the transformation of law and governance by ensuring that it is informed and deeply connected to:

  • TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE - A critical part of Earth jurisprudence is re-connecting with, and learning from, indigenous wisdom.  Our indigenous partnerships program, Future Dreaming, aims to create positive ways for indigenous and non-indigenous people to learn from and work with each other. Please click here for more information.
  • A GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF THE NATURAL SCIENCES - AELA is committed to ensuring that Earth centred law and governance is informed by the vast body of scientific research that exists in our society.  Our Science Advisory Group was created to enable AELA to connect with the research and knowledge of leading Australian scientists. Our Ecological Limits stream of work is currently focussing on two initiatives that aim to bring science to the forefront of Earth centred law and governance: Our GreenPrints program and our "Let's Talk About Consumption" workshop and publication series.
  •  ECOSPIRITUALITY - AELA supports conversations and practice that explore and promote ecofaith and ecospirituality.  We believe that as individuals, our love of the Earth community is a key driver for all personal and professional action, and can be nurtured to create more Earth centred governance systems.  Please see our 'Exploring Ecospirituality' series.
  • Theme 3 - Building Community

AELA's work focusses 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 forge truly sustainable human societies.  We believe in the phenomenal energy, expertise and commitment of environmentally focussed individuals and community based organisations, and our strategies reflect this focus on civil society (ie non-government and non-corporate sectors of Australian society).  To do this we are:

  • BUILDING LEGAL AND GOVERNANCE SUPPORT FOR LOCAL ECONOMIES AND EARTH FRIENDLY INITIATIVES - AELA currently offers governance advice and support to Earth friendly small to medium organisations, social enterprises, co-operatives and informal community groups and networks.  We are also working on creating dedicated legal services for this sector.  For more information please click here.
  • ASSERTING COMMUNITY AND NATURE'S RIGHTS - AELA offers workshops and long term support to any communities interested in using local law making to assert the right of local human communities and the rights of nature.  Please click here for more information.
  • SUPPORTING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE - We host conferences, workshops and other gatherings to support advocates of environmental justice.  For more information, please visit this webpage: Environmental Justice Network Australia
  • SUPPORTING THE INTERNATIONAL EARTH LAWS AND RIGHTS OF NATURE MOVEMENTS - AELA is involved in a range of international networks and initiatives that support Earth centred law and governance and the rights of nature - please click here for more information.  AELA is a founding member of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and our National Convenor, Dr Michelle Maloney, sits on the Executive Committee of the Alliance.
  • Theme 4 - Building Alternatives

AELA's work includes a strong emphasis on creating a new vision or story for Earth centred human governance. To do this, we're engaged in a range of programs and activities that demonstrate in very practical ways, how our legal, economic and political systems can be, and should be, if we're to nurture the Earth community rather than destroy it.  Our projects include:

  • RESEARCHING AND CREATING NEW GOVERNANCE MODELS.  For example, please read about AELA's 'GreenPrints' program, by clicking here.
  • ALTERNATIVE LEGAL AND JURISPRUDENTIAL PROJECTS.  We believe strongly in the value of 'showing' how the legal system can work differently.  The Rights of Nature Tribunals offer an important and powerful way for communities to speak on behalf of their non-human neighbours and ecosystems, and to make recommendations about how to reform our legal and governance systems.  For information about our international and national work, please visit these webpages:
  • ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIC PROJECTS.  We're passionate about supporting the creation of new economic systems that are bubbling up in Australia and around the world, which challenge and in time will replace, the destructive consumer capitalist economic system we now have.  Here are some of our current initiatives:
    • AELA is working with the University of NSW to build a coalition of people and organisations interested in strengthening the New Economy.  For more information, please click here.
    • AELA is engaged with an international working group, via the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, which is researching and promoting Earth friendly economic systems. For more information, please click here.
  • Theme 5 - Transforming law and governance

The ultimate goal of all our work is to transform Australian culture, law and governance - at all scales - to be Earth centred.  We see our other four programs as contributing to the direct transformation of law and governance, and we will draw on the work in our other programs to develop our law reform and advocacy work.