environmental groups and social justice groups - Australian directory

End Immigration Detention for Children

Immigration detention has a devastating effect on the physical, emotional and psychological development of children and must be stopped. At the end of February 2012, 1,107 children (aged under 18 years) were in immigration detention in Australia. Our global campaign is asking governments to stop detaining children and their families. Since the launch of the campaign in March 2012, we have been dedicating one month to a particular country, during which we focus on local child detention practices. The campaign also aims to trigger public awareness and engagement by asking individuals – 18 and under – and organisations to take action against child immigration detention.

You can get involved by: recording a 20 second message to children behind bars; signing the global petition; sharing our invisible picture show that exposes the inhumane practice of detaining child refugees; and joining in events.

Engage Media

Engage Media runs community media projects and publishes social justice and environmental videos from the Asia Pacific. We welcome contributions of a variety of styles and genres, whether it be documentary, fiction, experimental or as yet un-categorisable. Our key focus is to present video that promotes social change. We want to promote work that challenges corporate dominance and government arrogance, that exposes the people and mechanisms behind environmental destruction or human rights abuses. We want to build media that questions how the world works. We are looking to create a more thoughtful space for works that have significant impact on viewers but we also want the space to be diverse and open to people with many different approaches.

Upload your video or event or news to the Engage Media website or browse through the amazing array of films on the site.


Engineers Without Borders

EWB has 10 years experience in creating systemic change through humanitarian engineering. We do this by: working in partnership to address a lack of access to basic human needs such as clean water, sanitation and hygiene, energy, basic infrastructure, waste systems, information communication technology and engineering education; educating and training Australian students, engineers and the wider community on issues including sustainable development, appropriate technology, poverty and the power of humanitarian engineering; and leading a movement of like-minded people with strong values and a passion for humanitarian engineering within Australia and overseas. Humanitarian engineering uses a people centered, strength based approach to improve community health, well being and opportunity. We have projects in Australia and overseas including in Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Check out our local chapters and event on our website.


Environment Centre NT

The Environment Centre NT is the peak community environment organisation in the Northern Territory and the only one based in the Top End that addresses all the major environmental and sustainability issues facing the Territory. Our five campaign areas are Nature Territory, Safe Climate, Green Living, Nuclear Free NT and Living Harbour. Examples of campaign goals in each respective area include stopping major land clearing, increasing renewable energy generation, supporting household sustainability through our COOLmob program, and ending uranium mining inside Kakadu National Park.

Join our great team of volunteers by helping in the office, supporting a campaign or program, attending public demonstrations, or doing research. Have our great COOLmob team do a home sustainability assessment at your house or flat to give you information and tips about how to reduce your power bills, save energy, and reduce your carbon pollution.

Northern Territory

Environment Defenders Office NSW

EDO NSW is a community legal centre specialising in public interest environmental law. We help people who want to protect the environment through law. Our core functions are: legal advice and litigation, policy and law reform, public engagement and education.

Each year EDO NSW provides free legal advice to more than 1,000 individuals and community groups across NSW. We also run free legal workshops for local communities. EDO NSW has run a number of landmark legal cases in the courts and undertakes policy and law reform work at both the State and Federal level. EDO NSW also operates an Indigenous Engagement Program, a Scientific Advisory Service, an Outreach Program and anInternational Program providing assistance to legal groups in the south Pacific.

Qualified scientists are encouraged to join our Scientific Expert Register and legal students and professionals are welcome to apply and we will contact you as opportunities arise.

New South Wales

Environment East Gippsland

EEG is the longest running community forest group working solely for the protection of Victoria's last and largest area of ancient forest. As a locally based group we play a vital role in information gathering on the local logging industry and badgering our 'forest managers'. We also network closely with both regional, state an national environment groups, feeding vital information as far and effectively as possible. Activities include: playing watchdogs and exposing the mismanagement of our forests; carrying out threatened species surveys in forests earmarked for logging; campaigning against the clear felling and woodchipping of our native forests; educating the public about our native flora and fauna and threats to their survival; attempting to make the Victorian government accountable for its unsustainable forest management; and agitating for the shift of the logging industry into plantations Seeking an environmentally and economically sustainable future for all.

To get involved, come and visit! Come to the Forests Forever camp held each year in April and learn about the forest and campaign, become a member of EEG and receive the 16 page quarterly newsletter with non-mainstream news and updates. Stay tuned to the website or bulletin for all the forest news and opportunities to take action.

Environment Tasmania

Environment Tasmania is the state's conservation council, dedicated to the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of Tasmania's natural environment. We represent 24 conservation groups in the state and provide a professional voice for Tasmania's conservation movement. We produce research reports on forest conservation and climate, run a marine program and restoration projects in high conservation forests.

We are always looking for people who want to get involved in our marine and forest projects and also need a video editor. Get in touch through our website to volunteer, sign up for the latest news or come to an event.

lutruwita (Tasmania)

Environment Victoria

Our story starts in the 60's, when a group of Victorians joined forces to keep the Little Desert from becoming an agricultural development. Wonder of wonders this cherished landscape was spared and the Little Desert National Park was established. It was a small victory for Victoria's natural environment. The funny thing about small victories is they make you feel empowered. They make you want to take on more challenges. Bigger ones. Tougher ones. And that's how Environment Victoria got started. Now, over 40 years later, we're one of Australia's leading environment groups. Like our planet, Environment Victoria has finite resources so we focus our efforts on where we can make the biggest impact: creating a safe climate, restoring our ecosystems to health and advocating one planet living.

Our environment needs us more than ever before. Together with hundreds of community groups and thousands of people just like you, we can succeed. Sign up to our newsletter to keep updated about actions you can take, events and other ways to get involved or volunteer with EV.

Environmental Defenders Office QLD

For over twenty years, EDO Qld has played a crucial role in helping communities understand and engage with our legal system. As a community legal centre, we support those looking to use the law to protect community health, preserve nature and combat climate change.

We give expert advice to rural and urban communities looking to protect the environment in the public interest via our free legal advice line. We also work hard to educate communities about their rights to access information, challenge risky developments and stand up for our environment. We write factsheets, handbooks and arrange community events to help people understand and use the law to protect what they’re most passionate about. Over the years, we’ve helped farmers, conservationists and community groups to stop the culling of endangered flying foxes, challenge mega dams and mining activities, and helped protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Volunteering for the EDO Qld offers people an opportunity to gain experience in public interest environment law, while supporting the work of the EDO. Volunteers increase our capacity to provide legal advice to individuals and the community seeking to use the law to protect the environment. Our in-house volunteer programs are for legal professionals, law students and law graduates.


Environmental Justice Australia

Environmental Justice Australia are nature’s lawyers. We use the law to protect our environment, and we work to change our laws to make sure they protect the right of all Australians to clean air, clean water and healthy ecosystems. We ensure that our communities can have a real say in decisions about our environment. Our environment is under threat from big business and hostile governments. Around the country, hard-won legal protections that safeguard our clean air and water are being wound back and torn up. We go to court to close toxic waste dumps, protect habitat, and defend your rights to clean air and clean water.

Volunteers make an invaluable contribution to our work and how much we can do for the community. Our in-house volunteer programs are for law students. Other volunteers who assist in many areas of EJA work include professionals such as solicitors, barristers and experts. Contact us to find out how to get involved.

Environs Kimberley

Environs Kimberley or EK is the peak conservation organisation for the Kimberley region, one of the world’s last wilderness areas. Our natural habitats are facing unprecedented threats from too frequent fires, feral animals, weeds, broadscale land-clearing, dams and encroaching industrial development. Native mammals are disappearing. Through its West Kimberley Nature Project, EK is working with Aboriginal ranger groups to better manage the threats to the region. Miners are exploring 25,000 km² for coal, over 120,000 km² for shale gas, that would be extracted by ‘fracking’, and more than 10,000 km² for bauxite. (Sydney’s urban area covers 1687 km²). The region is also facing exploration for oil, iron ore, copper, diamonds, rare earths, lead, zinc and uranium.

To get involved, become a member and receive invites to events and updates on how you can be actively involved in campaigns.

Western Australia

Equal Love

Equal love formed in 2004 when the Howard government changed the marriage act to purposefully discriminate against non heterosexual couples. It has now been over nine years since the Australian government amended the Marriage Act to to state that marriage in an institution between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. That's nine years of state-sanctioned discrimination is seven years too many! At our demonstrations we often have local celebrities, entertainers and community groups leading the marches and Equal Love is famous for organising the annual mid-winter vows at held at the registry office in the month that the law was changed (August). In 2009 we set a new world record – for the largest mass illegal wedding ever.

We encourage others to get on board and play whatever role they can in making the demonstrations bigger and better. Every year our protests have received national media coverage, taking our cause to the living rooms of millions of Australians. By putting equal rights issues in the public spotlight, we challenge homophobia and discrimination and promote greater acceptance of our community.

New South Wales
Western Australia
South Australia

Equality Rights Alliance

Equality Rights Alliance is Australia's largest network of organisations with an interest in advancing women's equality working with 54 members organisations to advocate for gender equality, women’s leadership and policy responses that support women’s diversity. Each year our member's decide on a plan of action. We are currently focusing on housing that meets the needs of women, women's equality in laws and access to justice, health and wellbeing and economic policy and structures.

If you are an organisation that is working for equality and women's rights, add your voice and join the alliance.

Ethical Consumer Group

The Ethical Consumer Group is a community based organisation and network that facilitates more sustainable purchasing practices. Our goal is to educate and empower people to make shopping choices that better reflect their values and to use their consumer power to create a better world. We produce the popular Shop Ethical! pocket guide and app which focuses on the environmental and social record of companies behind common brands, and draw from our extensive database of products, companies and issues. The recent Local Harvest project has been developed as a complimentary resource focusing on good food alternatives beyond the mainstream.

Get involved! We have run regular community events including our Shopping with a Conscience public workshops and supermarket tours, and Meal & Movie nights. These provide are an opportunity for people to explore living out practical alternatives in a consumer culture and share experiences, goals, and be inspired by what others are doing. There are also detailed guides on the website on how to run your own ethical events.


Extinction Rebellion (XR)

We are facing an unprecedented global emergency. Life on Earth is in crisis: scientists agree we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown, and we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making.The time for denial is over. It is time to act. Conventional approaches of voting, lobbying, petitions and protest have failed because powerful political and economic interests prevent change. Our strategy is therefore one of non-violent, disruptive civil disobedience – a rebellion.

Historical evidence shows that we need the involvement of 3.5% of the population to succeed. Join your local Rebellion group and take part in civil disobedience. The global Spring Rebellion starts 7 Oct 2019.

New South Wales
Northern Territory
Western Australia
South Australia
lutruwita (Tasmania)

Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand

Our members and supporters are part of the global fair trade movement seeking to challenge conventional trade by placing fairness in prices and wages and the capacity to compete, and the alleviation of poverty at the core of international trade practices. We engage with and support local fair trade network groups and our growing network of Fair Trade Communities: councils, universities, workplaces, faith groups and schools who have made a commitment to fair trade. We recognise and promote the Fairtrade Mark (managed by Fair Trade Australia & New Zealand), the World Fair Trade Organisation, and our own system Fair Traders of Australia as credible fair trade systems, which meet international fair trade standards.

Take part in fair trade programs such as Fair Trade Communities, Fair Traders, or start a Fair Trade Network Group to self organise and advocate for fair trade.



We are a network of community organisations, community members and activists working to eliminate the exploitation of sweatshop workers and home-based outworkers in the Australian clothing industry. Many people are aware that clothing and footwear sweatshops overseas are often characterised by unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, rates of pay below a living wage, and extremely long working hours. Yet many Australians are surprised to learn that these conditions also exist in Australia, with an estimated 50-70% of Australian made clothing being outsourced, usually to migrant women working at home or in backyard sweatshops in suburbs around Australian cities.

The most effective way you can help stop sweatshops is by shopping ethically, sharing your concern with others and creating a conversation, staying in touch with FairWear through our website and social media and by making a donation. When shopping, look for the Ethical Clothing Australia label on the garment. You can put pressure on companies to become accredited on your own or through our website.

New South Wales
South Australia

Fauna and Flora Research Collective

FFRC is one hundred percent volunteer run collective engaged primarily in surveying for and reporting on the presence of threatened species and communities within Victoria’s public forests that are subject to logging. The primary focus of our research attends to the provisions within current legislation that aim to provide some protection for some of Victoria’s most threatened flora, fauna and ecological communities. FFRC carries out on the ground surveys, identifies threatened species and makes reports and submissions to the Victorian government in an effort to prevent illegal logging in endangered species habitat, rainforest and high conservation value forests and gain long term protection of our forest ecosystems.

Get in touch to take part in on the ground surveys or research, or take part in campaigns to lobby the government to end native forest logging.

Field Naturalists Club of Victoria

The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria (FNCV) is Victoria's oldest conservation group. The FNCV was founded in 1880, and continues as a vigorous and practical advocate of conservation and the study of natural history to this day. The Club has close to 1000 members and publishes the bimonthly journal 'The Victorian Naturalist'. Early Club members for two decades successfully worked towards reservation of Wilsons Promontory as a national park. The FNCV continues to thrive to this day. We are a very active club with a diverse calendar of events.
The huge range of interests within the club have seen the development of various Special Interest Groups. Members are welcome to attend activities of any or all of these groups. Visitors are welcomed, but please note a $5 fee may apply to non-members on some group activities (this includes insurance).

There are always hands on volunteer activities available, or join FNCV and participate in talks, walks and field trips through one of our special interest groups on bats, botany, fungi, fauna surveys, microscopal life, geology, marine research and terrestrial invertebrates.


Fight for the Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the natural wonders of the world. But it is under threat from the most widespread, rapid and damaging set of industrial developments in Queensland’s history. The Queensland Government is fast-tracking mega port developments, dredging and dumping of millions of tonnes of seabed and rock, and encouraging a shipping superhighway. The Australian Government is approving these developments, including the world’s biggest coal port at Abbot Point, 50 km from the Whitsunday Islands. It’s your Reef, but you’re going to have to fight for it. Fight for the Reef is a partnership between WWF-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

Check the campaign website for updates and actions or volunteer. There's heaps of information and resources available on the website.

First Nations Liberation

FNL is a grassroots organisation currently emerging out of Collingwood/Fitzroy as a part of the 200 + year continuum of the first nations peoples’ struggle for justice, land rights, self-determination/economic independence and freedom in this part of the continent.

The definition of FNL is evolving as the organisation grows and develops. To learn more about what we stand for, where it emerges from politically and historically and the ideas, actions (and people behind them) that inspire, follow the links that are featured throughout our blog, they can begin to give you an insight into where FNL is coming from.

Read the resources on the FNL blog to find out what it's all about and take part in FNL events.

First Peoples Disability Network Australia

We are a national organisation of and for Australia’s First Peoples with disability, their families and communities, governed by First Peoples with lived experience of disability. First Peoples with disability are amongst the most seriously disadvantaged and disempowered members of the Australian community. We proactively engage with communities around Australia and advocate for the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability in Australia and internationally following the human rights framework established by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which Australia is a signatory, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Call or send an email to discuss volunteer and support opportunities, or follow and share us on facebook, twitter or youtube.

New South Wales

Fitzroy Learning Network

At the Fitzroy Learning Network, we work with the local community to provide training and support services to newly arrived refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to increase opportunities for social, cultural and economic participation. We offer a variety of courses and opportunities such as IT and Technology literacy, English Literacy through nationally recognised training, link up referrals and networks and social activities for the local community.

Through our programs students, volunteers, mentors and community members have a unique opportunity to meet, work alongside and build relationships with each other and local residents who access our programs. Complete the application and we will contact you whenever suitable volunteer vacancies arise.

Footprints for Peace

Footprints for Peace create participatory moving communities in America and Australia that aim to create change through peaceful action. FFP walks and bike rides deepen our understanding of spiritual, cultural, and environmental issues. Our aim is to educate, inspire, and empower individuals and communities in a building a sustainable future. Regular events include the Walk for a Sustainable Future, Run for Freedom, Bikes Not Bombs ride and the Nuclear Free Future campaign. In Australia, FFP are part of an alliance of groups who organise an annual month long walk on sacred land in Western Australia raising awareness about the uranium industry and its impact on Aboriginal communities. In 2013, FFP walked from Cairns to Gladstone to raise awareness of threats to the Great Barrier Reef.

Take part in a FFP walk or bike ride or help organise.

Forest Conservation Victoria

Forest Conservation Victoria is a grassroots group that is taking a stand against the destructive logging that is happening all over Victoria. We practice non-violent direct action to campaign for permanent protection of forests and wildlife.

Support us at forest actions and join in training to skill up to protect forests.

Wurundjeri, Taungurung and Gunaikurnai Country


The Active groups directory lists over one hundred independent community based environmental groups and social justice groups working for real social change. Use the search menus above to find out about the people taking action and creating a better world and how you can join them.

Throughout history, significant gains for human rights, social justice and environmental protection has come about because of the pressure generated by concerned groups of people talking up, standing up and taking action.

The power of this collective voice in Australia has resulted in the creation of our National Parks, the prevention of the damming of our rivers, the refusal of radioactive waste dumps, the closing of uranium mines on sacred land, and the ongoing struggle for Indigenous sovereignty.

Social change is achieved with diversity of tactics and channels starting from the grass roots up. From the actions of each individual, to groups of friends, community groups, non-government organisations, government and finally industry, we can change the world.

Different groups work in very different ways. The way that you like to work with people and the level of involvement you want will determine how much satisfaction you get out of a particular group.

If you don't find the group that works for you the first time, don't give up! There are lots of groups working in different ways. If there's no group that's focusing on what you care about, consider starting it up.

The reason Margaret Meade's quote is used over and over again is because it's true.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Add your environmental group or social justice group to the directory.

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