environmental groups and social justice groups - Australian directory

Fossil Free

If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. We believe that educational and religious institutions, city and state governments, and other institutions that serve the public good should divest from fossil fuels. We want institutions to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies, and divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years. Fossil Free, a campaign run by 350.org are supporting local collectives to run campaigns at their universities and other institutions across the globe.

There are local groups in WA, NT, Vic, NSW and the ACT. (The Australian Student Environment Network have also started the Lock the Campus campaign to make our universities fossil free.) Take a look at the Fossil Free website to see if there's a campaign on your campus or institution, join in or start your own. Contact ASEN or check out the Lock the Campus campaign for local support.

New South Wales
Northern Territory
Western Australia

Foundation House

The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (also known as Foundation House) provides services to people of refugee backgrounds in Victoria who have experienced torture or other traumatic events in their country of origin or while fleeing those countries. Foundation House was established in 1987. It is a not-for-profit organisation and its work is funded by the Victorian and Commonwealth governments, charitable organisations and donations from private individuals. Foundation House is non-denominational, politically neutral and non-aligned.

Foundation House does not have the capacity to operate a volunteer program because of the specialised nature of our support work with clients. However, people are involved with our work in a variety of ways. We encourage and warmly welcome you to support us, become a member or donate. You may like to try the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Please contact them directly for any opportunities.

Free West Papua

The Free West Papua promotes and facilitates various steps that Australians can take to help stop the human rights violations currently occurring in West Papua. It is part of a collective effort to change Australian Government policy towards West Papua. Everyday West Papuans suffer persecution and fear in their own land. While huge profits are extracted from the resource rich province, the local people experience little benefit. Many West Papuans feel the Indonesian Government is only interested in West Papua for the land and resources, not for the people or culture. While an increasing number of people around the world are taking action to prompt discussions about the future of West Papua, the Australian Government continues to turn a blind eye to the human rights violations occurring on our doorstep.

There are many groups and individuals working under the Free West Papua banner to help raise awareness of the issues and demand action from our elected representatives. Check out the Facebook pages for Free West Papua and find local fundraising and awareness events on the Eco-shout calendar.

New South Wales

Free West Papua - Perth

We are a group of people from Perth from human rights, political and environmental backgrounds, a number of whom have spent time in West Papua. Our leadership comes from Papuan representatives here in the UK, and in West Papua itself.

The people of West Papua have been suffering under Indonesian occupation since 1962. Over 500,000 civilians have been killed, and thousands more have been raped, tortured and imprisoned. Foreign media and human rights groups are banned from operating in West Papua, so people rarely hear about the situation there. The Free West Papua Campaign is bringing the story of West Papua to the world and campaigning for freedom and justice in West Papua, to end the violence of the last 50 years.

We are a peaceful, public campaign, whose aim is very simple: to give the people of West Papua the freedom to choose their own destiny through a fair and transparent referendum – a freedom they have always been denied. We work with politicians of all parties, and also with other NGOs and campaign groups, both national and international, towards this aim.

You can support the campaign by signing up to our newsletter, coming along to fundraising events and helping to spread the word about the situation in West Papua.

Western Australia

Fremantle Road to Rail

In the past few years the Department of Transport’s focus has shifted away from rail as a means of transporting freight destined for Fremantle Port. In order to right the balance, a group of concerned community members have decided to launch a public campaign dedicated to moving freight onto rail. We are alarmed at the declining percentage of freight on rail, which has fallen from 17% in 2007 to 11% in 2011. With the decisions to double container volume at Fremantle Port by 2017 and to have the Port grow for the next 50 years, it is important that the government invest now in the rail infrastructure to support it.

Contact us by email to get involved and join in our events.

Western Australia

Friends of Leadbeater's Possum

Leadbeater’s Possum is Victoria’s State Faunal emblem. An endangered species with both State and National Recovery Programs in place. Endemic to Victoria, they exist nowhere else but the Central Highlands forests, Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve and alpine areas between Lake Mountain and Mt. Baw Baw. Population estimates prior to the 2009 bushfires were around 2,000-2,500 individuals, post-fire estimates are less than 1,000. Approximately 45% of their prime habitat and population was lost in the 2009 fires. Leadbeater’s Possums population and habitat is suffering from ongoing clearfell logging (including salvage logging) and bushfire prevention methods like fuel breaks and fuel reduction burning. We are actively working towards achieving the proposed Great Forest National Park to provide security to Leadbeater’s Possum populations into the future. Together we hope to be able to help Leadbeater’s survive in the wild by developing public awareness, conservation efforts, research programs and effective conservation strategies and policies.

Get involved! Throughout the year we regularly go out into the field. This includes activities in the forest which cater to a range of physical abilities including stag watching from November to March, habitat revegetation or tree planting when appropriate (May), and nest box installation and checking in autumn and spring.

Friends of the Earth Melbourne

Friends of the Earth believes that social and environmental issues cannot be separated from each other, and therefore operates on a collective non-hierarchical basis. FoE applies a human rights perspective to all campaigns, which means that FoE tackles many issues outside the normal preserve of 'environmental' organisations. A large network of volunteers make FoE what it is. FoE Melbourne has a number of collectives working on campaigns including: anti uranium, food and agriculture, forest network, Barmah - Millewa red gums, Indigenous solidarity, climate change, trade and corporate camapaigns.

FoE encourages people to take action as individuals by making their own lifestyles ecologically sustainable as well as applying pressure to those who make decisions affecting the environment. Contact individual collectives to get involved in specific campaigns. Visit the FoE organic food co-op. Use the activist resources available through FoE, the campaign centre, office space and notice boards to get the word out about your campaign.

Wurundjeri and Bunurong Country

Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater

Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater formed in May 1989 when the population of the Helmeted Honeyeater's reached a critically low level of 50 birds. We share a concern for the future of our critically endangered Victorian bird emblem (the only bird endemic to Victoria) and want to contribute to the conservation of Australia's unique flora and fauna. Our major aims are to protect existing habitat and plant future habitat for the Helmeted Honeyeater; and to raise awareness about the plight of the Helmeted Honeyeater and enlist broad community support for the Recovery project.

Join in monthly on Sundays. Activities may include tree planting, seed collecting or works around the nursery or at differing locations around the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve and area. Most equipment is supplied. Or come to the nursery and learn new skills in plant propagation and plant identification or share your knowledge.

Front Line Action on Coal

FLAC is committed to community-led, non-violent direct action (NVDA). As part of a strategy to achieve climate justice and create meaningful change in the world, we take action to directly disrupt the status quo. Using our collective power to bring attention to and highlight injustices, we are on the frontlines of transforming the way we relate to our world and each other. We also aim to support community and grassroots groups on the front line of dangerous fossil fuel development and expansions, through solidarity, training and resources.

FLAC has been peacefully obstructing constructions works for the Adani coal mine in central Queensland since works began. Now the mine is approved, we need you now to stop the construction.


GECO is a grassroots environment organisation based in East Gippsland. We are dedicated to protecting the remaining old growth forests of the region, primarily through direct action. WE monitor logging operations, identify breaches, carry out wildlife monitoring and raise public awareness about the importance of old growth forests. Volunteers at GECO write many submissions to government on the logging industry and prepare reports on endangered species research.

People are always welcome to come to Goongerah and help with the campaign. There is no “environment centre” as such any more. People usually camp at the Goongerah campground, on the beautiful Brodribb River. If you want to find out more about how to help, email or facebook us.



GetUp is community driven (primarily) online platform that aims to build a more progressive Australia by giving everyday Australians the opportunity to get involved and hold politicians accountable on important issues. Whether it is sending an email to a member of parliament, engaging with the media, attending an event or helping to get a television ad on the air, GetUp members take targeted, coordinated and strategic action to effect real change. Campaigns are generated by public concern and currently include protecting the Great Barrier Reef, saving the ABC from budget cuts, changing refugee policy, getting better action for climate change and stopping coal seam gas operations.

Sign up to GetUp! to be sent action alerts, sign petitions, send letters to decision makers and join in events. Suggest a campaign or start your own community campaign on GetUp!

New South Wales

Gluepot Reserve

Gluepot is Australia's largest community operated conservation reserve situated 64km north of Waikerie and the River Murray in South Australia's Riverland. Comprising 54,000 ha of prime mallee country, the reserve is maintained exclusively by volunteers and is home to 18 nationally threatened species of birds and 190 recorded bird species. Acquired in 1997, Gluepot is rapidly becoming a centre for scientific research. Its accessibility means it is one of the few areas in Australia where birdwatchers can relatively easily observe otherwise hard-to-find species.

Join Friends of Gluepot to support the reserve financially or become a volunteer and help maintain the reserve for biodiversity conservation.

South Australia

Great Australian Bight Alliance

Five years on and the costs of BP’s disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill continue to emerge. It was the worst in history - devastating marine life, fisheries, tourism and local communities. Now BP are pushing to drill the Great Australian Bight this year in waters far rougher than the Gulf of Mexico. They will be the first of a wave of oil companies looking to expand the fossil fuel industry into the Bight, placing the pristine marine environment at risk.

Fill in the online form to volunteer and become a champion for the Great Australian Bight. Environment groups, become an alliance partner. And stay in touch for lots of events and actions to protect the Bight.

South Australia

Great Eastern Ranges Initiative

The Great Eastern Ranges Initiative works with landholders, government and NGOs to create a corridor of connected ecosystems from central Victoria right up to Far North Queensland. Australia’s biodiversity cannot be conserved adequately in the public reserve system. Past expectations were that we might be able to conserve nature in protected areas, such as national parks, state forests, nature parks and conservation reserves. We now recognise that even the largest protected areas act as ‘islands’ of habitat surrounded by lands managed for agriculture, industry or human settlement. The Great Eastern Ranges Initiative has been developed to provide functional links between these protected areas. These links will support ecological processes such as seasonal dispersal or migration of native species and long term adaptation of ecosystems.

Whether it be by volunteering for one of our partner organisations, attending our events, doing a research project with one of our partner universities, or simply by connecting with us online, there are an extraordinary number of ways to get involved in this landscape-scale conservation project.

New South Wales

Green Warrior Permaculture

Green Warrior Permaculture is a collective group of sustainability specialists dedicated to solving the problems of our world through direct action. Led by Steve Cran, GWP has developed effective strategies for sustainability in aid work, community development, disaster mitigation and permanent food security, focusing on empowering local communities to restore their own self-sufficiency. GWP implements projects in disaster zones, conflict zones, remote communities and poverty prone areas that need real solutions for the current challenges they face. A Green Warrior is a field trainer that can educate and train communities on the ground in sustainability strategies and techniques. Green warriors build working models of holistic eco-design systems that include organic food production, eco-infrastructure and appropriate technologies. These systems offers new techniques to ensure that the ways in which communities interact with nature is more sustainable and mutually beneficial. Green Warrior Permaculture Aid delivers sustainability aid projects opposed to conventional aid which creates dependancy and band-aid solutions.

You can support the current Green Warrior Aid Team in the Philippines as they set up a sustainable permaculture aid project for communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda. Follow our Facebook page (facebook.com/greenwarriorpermaculture) and blog (permacultureaidtumblr.com) for updates. Stay tuned for international training coming soon in the Philippines. For all those who just cant wait and want to join our team now, please email green.warriorsteve@gmail.com with a list of your skills and what you would like to achieve.


Greenpeace Australia Pacific

The first action under a Greenpeace banner in Australia was against the last whaling station in the English-speaking world at Albany, Western Australia. This took place on August 28, 1977 at the gates of the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company's processing factory. In early 1998 Greenpeace Australia and Greenpeace Pacific teamed up to become Greenpeace Australia Pacific (GPAP), an environmental force working on a range of issues for the region. GPAP now has more than 70,000 financial supporters. Greenpeace campaigns locally on forests, food, oceans and globally on climate and the Save the Arctic campaign. 30 Greenpeace arctic activist are currently being held in prison in Russia, help get them out!

Get involved with Greenpeace by taking online actions, volunteering, getting involved with a particular campaign or raising funds.

New South Wales

Grow it Local

Grow it Local is a project that celebrates backyard, balcony, community and windowsill food farming. It’s about local food producers, bringing people together and having a little fun. You can put your own garden on the map, find other growers and take part in food sharing events. We have a wonderful community of growers regularly sharing tips via facebook and meeting up in person to share feasts. We're encouraging crowd farming on a grand scale.

Put your patch on the map! Register your backyard, balcony, community or windowsill garden. You can update your patch with pictures & tips. We’ll let you know about opportunities to share your produce and attend special Grow It Local food events via our e-newsletter.

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

Hills Community For Climate Action

Hills Community For Climate Action is a grass-roots community group made up of residents of the Dandenong Ranges and surrounds who hold grave concerns about the current climate crisis, yet are motivated to seek community solutions to inspire change from the bottom up.

Our vision for the future is a fair and connected society, a safe climate and a thriving planet. Our mission is to grow the climate action movement in the hills to take meaningful, positive action towards a safe climate future.

Join our Facebook group to keep up with discussions, events and actions!


Human Rights Arts & Film Festival

HRAFF is a Melbourne based not-for-profit organisation devoted to the exploration of human rights issues through an annual film and arts festival and an on-going schools and community program. HRAFF selects its arts and film to engage and inform people on human rights issues. The festival’s innovative and entertaining program resonates with audiences, encouraging them to talk about their experience.

For a fortnight in Melbourne, and three weeks across the country, HRAFF exhibits a selection of contemporary cinema, music and fine art. In its sixth year, HRAFF continues to provide a shared site whereby artists, human rights organisations and the Australian public are united by their desire to contribute to social change.

Call yourself a film buff? Want to get involved in an exciting film programming team for the next edition of HRAFF? We’re on the hunt for some exceptional individuals to join our features and short film programming teams. Could this be you?


Hunter Valley Environment Centre

The Hunter Valley Environment Centre is a resource-hub for groups and individuals working towards environmental and social justice in the Hunter region of NSW. It provides a space for groups to network and collaborate on campaigns. The main objectives of the Hunter Community Environment Centre are to educate and inform the community about biodiversity and the need to protect it and to promote and assist cooperation, sharing of resources and coordination of activities amongst environment and community groups. Current campaigns include preventing the expansion of coal ports in Newcastle and reducing coal dust and its related health problems.

There are many ways to become involved with the HCEC and get active against coal expansion. Visit the community centre, join in local campaigns and come along to fund raising events. Email us to find out more.

New South Wales

Indigenous Hospitality House

Five years ago a group of lefty Christians decided they wanted to do something practical about Indigenous Injustice. A report from the Koori workers at the Royal Childrens said that there was a need for a welcoming place for families to stay when there was someone in hospital. Five years later the home has provided a place to stay for over 500 guests, and been a great place for mutual learning. For over 200 years relationships between Indigenous and non-indigenous people in Australia have been based on the dominance and racism of the invaders. While there have been many occasions where Indigenous people have provided hospitality to non-indigenous people to help in the process of mutual understanding and respect, non-indigenous attempts have often been based on dominance, welfarism and paternalism. Indigenous Hospitality house exists to provide a place for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to meet and learn from one another while filling a specific need requested by the Indigenous Community. Residents and visiting volunteers are often involved in ANTAR and other solidarity groups.

To get involved: move in and join the other residents in opening our home to guests; volunteer to help us host guests on a regular or occasional basis; or drop by for a cuppa.


Indigenous Social Justice Association Melbourne

ISJA was established in January 2005 to organise a Melbourne rally and march as part of a National Day of Action to mark the first anniversary of the death of Kamilaroi teenager, TJ Hickey in Redfern, and to demand a fresh inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death. ISJA is a grassroots, multi-racial activist group — open to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people — which works collaboratively with others around the country campaigning to stop Indigenous deaths in custody.

ISJA's recognises that the struggle to end Indigenous deaths in custody cannot be separated from the wider campaign for Indigenous rights. This is why we also work to advance campaigns to recognise the Sovereignty of Australia’s many Indigenous nations and the negotiation of genuine treaties with these nations and why we oppose the Federal Government’s intervention into NT Aboriginal communities.

Meetings are usually on the first Thursday of the month at 6.30pm. (Solidarity Salon, 580 Sydney Road, Brunswick). For more info please call, leave a message if necessary, and someone will call you back asap.


Indigenous Social Justice Association Sydney

Indigenous Social Justice Association (Sydney) is an Aboriginal rights campaign group. ISJA has been organising protests for a range of Aboriginal rights issues including the Stop Deaths in Custody campaign, Justice for TJ Hickey and Against Police Brutality.

ISJA meets at 7pm on the third Thursday of every month at the Redfern Community Centre. Please join us in the fight for Aboriginal rights.

New South Wales

International Fund for Animal Welfare

Founded in 1969, the International Fund for Animal Welfare saves individual animals, animal populations and habitats all over the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW provides hands-on assistance to animals in need, whether it's dogs and cats, wildlife and livestock, or rescuing animals in the wake of disasters. We also advocate saving populations from cruelty and depletion, such as our campaign to end commercial whaling and seal hunts. IFAW campaigns include rescuing wild bears, defending whales and seals from commercial killing, saving the last tigers, stopping animal trafficking, education programs, political advocacy and helping cats and dogs.

With over 1 million supporters worldwide, IFAW has a strong voice for animals worldwide. Add your voice through online petitions and emails campaigns and signing up for action alerts.

New South Wales

International Womens Development Agency

International Women’s Development Agency is the only Australian development agency entirely focussed on gender equality and women’s rights in Asia and the Pacific. Our pursuit of gender equality focusses on economic empowerment, safety and security and civil and political participation. As well as delivering training and programs with 24 partners in 6 countries, IWDA is building evidence of women’s contributions to families, communities and nations and the barriers and challenges that constrain their rights, participation and flourishing.

Check IWDA's volunteer page for volunteer and internship opportunities. Volunteers are active in events, policy and research, training and materials development, public education forums, publications and advocacy and administration. We warmly celebrate volunteers’ contributions every year during National Volunteer Week and International Volunteer Day.



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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