environmental groups and social justice groups - Australian directory

Surf Coast Energy Group

Formed in 2008, the Surf Coast Energy Group is a diverse group of Surf Coast residents based in Victoria, united by a concern for climate change and sustainability and doing something about it at a local level. The group now has over 800 members. We encourage positive behaviour change and promote understanding of climate change and resource use. We play a part in state and national campaigns including Cash for Containers, 100% Renewables, Surf Coast Air Action and Solar Citizens.

We are always looking for new team members and volunteers to help out at events and contribute new ideas. Come to a meeting (rsvp first) or get in touch.


Sustainable Living Foundation

The Sustainable Living Foundation (SLF) aims to accelerate the uptake of sustainable living in the general community to ensure a liveable planet for all sentient beings. SLF's chief purpose is to create platforms, portals and possibilities for the challenging discussions that struggle to be heard in more conventional circles.

The major SLF platform is the annual Sustainable Living Festival which presents a rich and diverse program of forums and workshops, exhibitions, films and performance, markets and tours that celebrates sustainability initiatives throughout the community.

Another newly created platform is Breakthrough - the National Centre for Climate Restoration - that explores the concept of safe climate restoration and aims to ignite the development of a coordinated effort to take action. Breakthrough is a platform for organisations and individuals seeking to explore and develop sound strategies to restore safe climate conditions.

Interested parties can check out the website or social media pages to keep up to date with current activities - opportunities to participate in projects or as volunteers will be advertised via these modes.


Swan Island Peace Convergence

For the past 5 years, peace activists have gathered at the Swan Island Military Base in Queenscliff Victoria, for a week of nonviolently resisting the SAS’s involvement in dirty wars. Swan Island Military base is a key training facility for the SAS who continue to fight and kill in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries in Australia’s name. The SAS are a key plank in our contribution to US imperialism through the ANZUS alliance. Swan Island is also a key facility for ASIS, Australia’s overseas intelligence body.

Many of us feel powerless in the face of unjust wars, but this is our chance to get alongside our brothers and sisters affected by the SAS, and learn how we can help and raise our voices.

Come to the Convergence, get skilled up in non violent protest and join in the creative direct action to blockade the bridge to Swan Island military base.

Sydney Wildlife

Sydney Wildlife operates in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area which extends from the Hawkesbury River in the north, to Picton in the south and from the foothills of the Blue Mountains to the ocean. As well as caring for sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife, Sydney Wildlife is also involved in educating the community about native wildlife and its habitat. From kindergartens to retirement villages, community education packages are tailored to meet the specific needs of a wide range of audiences. Sydney Wildlife is an entirely voluntary, charitable organisation. There are no paid staff what-so-ever.

Find out what's involved in becoming a wildlife carer, attend one of our training sessions and get involved.

New South Wales

The Australia Institute

The Australia Institute is the country’s most influential progressive think tank. Based in Canberra, it conducts research on a broad range of economic, social and environmental issues in order to inform public debate and bring greater accountability to the democratic process. The Institute is funded by donations from philanthropic trusts and individuals, and commissioned research. With no formal political or commercial ties, the Institute is in a position to maintain its independence while advancing a vision for a fair and progressive Australia. The Institute is determined to push public debate beyond the simplistic question of whether markets or governments have all the answers to more important questions.

Join the Institutes mail list to keep up to date on the latest reports about regressive government policy, responses to climate change, the logging and fracking industries and more; and actions you can take to support social change.

The Australia Institute

The Australia Institute is the country’s most influential progressive think tank. Based in Canberra, it conducts research on a broad range of economic, social and environmental issues in order to inform public debate and bring greater accountability to the democratic process. With new dilemmas confronting our society and our planet, a better balance is urgently needed. Unprecedented levels of consumption co-exist with extreme poverty. Technology has connected humanity as never before, yet civic engagement is declining. Environmental neglect continues despite heightened ecological awareness. If genuine progress is to be achieved, conscience, equity and concern for the future must be the guiding principles of our democracy.

Use our extensive library of reports to learn about environmental and social justice issues, share our infographics to spread powerful messages and check out our upcoming events and get involved.

The Bob Brown Foundation (Melbourne)

The Bob Brown Foundation is all about action with a vision to protect Australia's wild and scenic natural places of ecological and global significance.

The first place on our radar is the stunning Tarkine in a remote part of North West Tasmania. The Tarkine is a vast wilderness area supporting Australia's largest tract of cool temperate rainforest, spanning wild windswept beaches, extensive buttongrass plains and pristine wild rivers. It is of great significance to Tasmania's indigenous people and a relict of the ancient continent of Gondwana and related to temperate forests in Patagonia and the South Island of New Zealand.

Our campaign for The Tarkine is calling for its recognition as a National Park and World Heritage Area and is taking strategic and considered action step by step to reach this goal by 2020. We need your help to do this.

To get involved in the Tarkine Action Group, please contact Campaigner Emma Wasson.


The Gould League

For over 90 years, the Gould League has been a leader in environmental education particularly in Australian schools, reaching hundreds of thousands of children with original and effective programs and resources. The League creates student leaders who in turn influence their families and communities. Our work is consistent with the declaration of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014, recognising that education offers opportunities for learning, participation and action and empowerment by building skills and capacity. Education allows people to make informed decision making and assists people to take greater responsibility for their choices, actions and impact.

We welcome volunteers and endeavour to provide excellent opportunities and support. Recent volunteers have assisted with projects as diverse as gardening, marketing and PR activities, setting up for student programs and assisting with our Multicultural School Gardens program.


The Institute of Postcolonial Studies

The Institute of Postcolonial Studies was founded in 1996 as an independent venue for the exploration of postcolonial scholarship, politics and creative practice.

The Institute hosts a wide variety of public events, performances and presentations, bringing together scholars, artists, activists and larger publics to explore and respond to the legacies of the colonial encounter in Australia and globally.

At the core of the activities and projects we aim to foster and support there is one central guiding concern: how can we best respond to the pressing challenges of coexistence in the present?

The Institute is the home of the scholarly and global journal, Postcolonial Studies.

The Institute is member-based organisation and membership is open to all who share its concerns.


The Institute has ongoing activities such as public forums and workshops, member and student-led reading and discussion groups, and practice-based community engaged research.

To get involved contact Carlos Eduardo Morreo: / 0490130004


The Seaside Scavenge

The Seaside Scavenge is about putting a value on rubbish. It’s a beach clean up event but add some live music and second-hand markets to the mix and it becomes something much bigger than that.

We want to create a community around re-use and recycling. We set up market stalls with donated second-hand goods. The idea is that you come along check out the markets, see what you like but the catch is if you want to ‘buy’ you have to pick up some trash. A shirt may be 10 pieces of rubbish, so that’s what you’ve got to go get to trade in for the shirt.

We collate all the data on the trash collected and send it to Tangaroa Blue Foundation, who keep Australia wide databases of beach rubbish items and quantities.

The best way to get involved is when we put on events, which we update on our Seaside Scavenge Facebook and website. If you have clothes to donate, get in touch with AJ at linke.aj@gmail.com. Look us up on Facebook or our website and find out when the next event is on!

New South Wales

The Thin Green Line Foundation

Over 1,000 Park Rangers have lost their lives across the globe in the last 10 years. The Thin Green Line Foundation along with our strong partners the International Ranger Federation are the only organisations dedicated to protecting these protectors. We provide vital equipment, training and resources to rangers in the field, predominantly in high value
conservation and conflict zones. Additionally we do not forget the widows and children of our fallen conservation heroes and provide meaningful and effective social support.

Get involved with our regular fundraising gigs and have a great time in the process, or organising your own fundraising event. You can also show our film to raise awareness of the conditions international Park Rangers face. Whatever your skills, there’s a volunteer opportunity with your name on it. Register through our website.


The Wilderness Society

TWS is a national, community-based, environmental advocacy organisation whose purpose is protecting, promoting and restoring wilderness and natural processes across Australia for the survival and ongoing evolution of life on Earth. Since its formation in 1976, TWS has achieved the secure protection of over eight million hectares of wilderness and other high conservation value areas in Australia. TWS works through the avenues of public education and empowerment, advocacy and negotiation, and desk and field research. TWS is politically unaligned, but uses democratic processes to maximise wise conservation decisions.

Wilderness Action Group (WAG) meets every Tuesday night in Melbourne at 6.30pm. Check in with your local group if you don't live in Victoria. People with a wide range of skills, backgrounds and experience welcome. Dedicate as much time as you wish, or just come along for an update.

New South Wales
Western Australia
South Australia
lutruwita (Tasmania)


Social media is an easy way to say something, but it’s a difficult way to be heard. Thunderclap is the first-ever crowdspeaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. It allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, so it rises above the noise of your social networks. By boosting the signal at the same time, Thunderclap helps a single person create action and change like never before.

Start your own Thunderclap. If you reach your supporter goal, Thunderclap will blast out a timed Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr post from all your supporters, creating a wave of attention as your cause trends across these networks.


Total Environment Centre

Established in 1972 by pioneers of the Australian environmental movement, TEC is a veteran of more than 100 successful campaigns. For over 30 years, we have been working to protect this country's natural and urban environment, flagging the issues, driving debate, supporting community activism and pushing for better environmental policy and practice.

TEC is a hub - a resource and support base - for environmentalists working on a wide range of issues. With our years of experience in lobbying, campaigns, media and research, we have helped hundreds of community groups in their struggle to protect their local environment. We are fearless critics of government - local, state and federal - but we will also work constructively with governments and business for positive environmental outcomes.

Take look at the different campaigns on the TEC website to find out how to get involved.

New South Wales


TreeProject is a non-profit community organisation dedicated to revegetating the Victorian landscape with indigenous trees, shrubs and grasses. We work with farmers, landcare groups, park authorities, government authorities and hundreds of volunteers to achieve our goals. The Re-Tree Scheme recruits volunteers from Melbourne and regional Victoria to propagate indigenous seedlings at home for farmers, landcare groups and other organisations across the state. Tree planting days are organised throughout the cooler months of the year. They take place on country farms and reserves and urban parks.

Get in touch to grow seedlings that will be planted on landholders farms, or take part in planting days. If you are a landholder, get in touch if you'd like to plant trees on your property.

Trust for Nature

Trust for Nature works to protect native plants and wildlife in cooperation with private landowners. In 1978, Trust for Nature developed conservation covenants as a way to protect native plants and wildlife on private land, and we have now protected more than 50,000 hectares through over 1,200 perpetual conservation covenants. The covenanting program has been adopted nationally with similar schemes now operating in WA, Qld and SA.The Trust has also purchased and preserved more than 55 properties across Victoria through its Revolving Fund, as well as currently owning and managing 44 properties that cover over 36,000 hectares of Victoria using a revolving fund.

To find out more about getting involved, make an expression of interest to volunteer online. If you are a land owner who'd like to protect your property with a conservation covenant, find out more about the incentives or if you are looking to buy protected land see what's available.

Veg Out Community Gardens St Kilda

Veg Out is an organic, chemical free garden run by volunteers. Formerly a lawn bowling green, the land Veg Out is situated on is administered by the local council for the State of Victoria, and has been permanently reserved for public use since 1881. We have over 140 plots, where members, friends, families and community groups enjoy getting their hands into the soil. Many have little or no gardening experience, but they soon learn as advice, seedlings and friendships are readily shared. A commitment to a sense of community, conservation and organic gardening principles underpins all activities on the site. Related endeavours include the monthly Veg Out St Kilda Farmers' Market and water conservation initiatives in association with South East Water.

The first step is to getting involved is to become a Friend. This allows us to keep the gardens going and to build our register of helpers and supporters. Becoming a Friend is also the first step towards getting a plot of your own - although many Friends also elect not to have plots. Everyone is welcome to visit and come along to Veg Out events. Join in on working bees, held on the first Sunday of the month, except in January.


Vegan Australia

Vegan Australia aims to effectively promote veganism through lobbying, campaigning through the media, research, education and providing services and support to vegans including a regular newsletter and national calendar of events.

We are looking for volunteers from all around the country who are self-starters and who have a passion for advocating for animals and veganism. First take a look at our Get Active! page and then check out how you can help volunteer.

New South Wales

Vegetarian Victoria

Vegetarian Victoria works to promote the health, animal welfare, and environmental benefits of vegetarianism and veganism. We provide support and up-to-date information to vegetarians and vegans and the general community and have a periodical newsletter of relevance to vegetarians and vegans. We work in co-operation with other vegetarian and vegan associations and groups in Australia and organise heaps of events including World Vegan Day, an annual ball, trivia nights, cooking and DIY skin care workshops, social get togethers and education.

Anyone can help out whether vegetarian, vegan or simply interested. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, learn all the latest veg information and help to make the world a more compassionate, friendlier and smarter place. We regularly have stalls at festivals and events that you can help out with, or get involved with organising our own events.


Very Edible Gardens

VEG - Very Edible Gardens offer weekend and evening courses aimed mostly at food gardening beginners. We have developed teaching styles and strategies to help fast-track people on to the road of good health and sustainability through fun workshops which mix theory with hands-on practice delivered with good humour and genuine passion. VEG run permaculture introduction courses, edible weeds walks and workshops on composting, soil, raising chickens, organic gardening and lots more. Prices range from $15 to $2,000 for a Permaculture Design Certificate.

Check out all their short courses and weed walks and heaps more stuff.

Victorian Association of Environmental Education

The Victorian Association of Environmental Education is driven by a voluntary council of elected members, which is made up of teachers, educational professionals from industry, business and education who share an interest in environmental education. VAEE promotes and supports the development of environmental education in schools and the community through its own initiatives and by encouraging and supporting individuals and groups whose goals and approaches are consistent with its own. Through environmental education, VAEE aims to help individuals develop awareness of environmentally responsible attitudes and skills a commitment to take effective action to meet environmental needs.

Check the VAEE website for opportunities for students and teachers to participate in professional development workshops and revision lectures. There is also great information on tertiary education in the environmental field.


Victorian Child and Nature Connection

The Victorian Child and Nature Connection acts to empower, connect and grow a movement of individuals, families and organisations who are committed to reconnecting children with nature. We are a cross-sectoral network with involvement of community leaders from the health, education, environment and community fields. It aims to link up various initiatives within Victoria that promote nature play in order to enhance child health, promote creative play and facilitate connection to the natural world.

By giving children opportunities to play outside and experience nature as an integral part of their lives, we will put them on the path to a healthy and happy future. A future in which our society values and looks after the natural systems that support and sustain all life on earth.

Take a look at the resources on the VCNC website and find out about activities happening in Melbourne.

Victorian Forest Alliance

Did you know native forests are still being logged in Victoria - mostly for wood chips which end up as cheap paper and card board products? We're fighting to stop the destruction. The alliance brings together more than 38 well-established grassroots forest groups actively protecting native forests across Victoria. Collectively, we have decades of experience working with our local communities.

Sign up to our news bulletin to hear about forest news, actions and events taking place across the state. If your group is working towards the protection of forests to restore ecosystems, protect wildlife and a safe climate, become a member.

Wurundjeri Country

Victorian National Parks Association

VNPA run Victoria's largest bushwalking and outdoor activities program and campaign for nature conservation and biodiversity. While there are many reasons to protect natural areas, the VNPA has always been driven by one overriding concern for the protection of Victoria's biodiversity. It aims to do this by establishing a truly representative system of national parks and reserves in the state. With Victoria's national parks under unprecedented attack it's time to stand up to protect the places we love. Campaigns include protecting parks and other special places, marine and coastal conservation and countering urban sprawl.

Volunteer with VNPA in areas such as: overseeing VNPA operations, on Council, or on specialist committees; leading bushwalking and outdoor activities programs; campaign support and promotion; or other day-to-day administrative tasks. Join a Friends Group in your local area and help conserve reserves, natural areas, and indigenous flora and fauna. Join ParkMates, VNPA's park survey support team and help monitor the state of our park system.


Wage Peace Disrupt War

We take bold, strategic direct and discursive action to disrupt militarism in Australia and our region. From Darwin to Narrm, from Gadi to Gimuy, we welcome peace and climate justice allies to gather in opposition to the harms dealers, and towards #EarthcareNotWarfare.

. Wage Peace supports the creation of truth telling events remembering the Frontier Wars. Our team works from many places in rural, remote and urban Australia.

Thales, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Elbit, Israeli Aerospace Industries – they are all in league with each other to make a killing in Gaza. We say Stop Arming Israel! We stand with millions around the world calling for ceasefire. Weapons companies profits are our losses. Destruction is their product. Genocide is their bottom line. Shut them down!

Tune into our podcast Peace Pod featuring the stories, passions and insights of some of our most treasured collaborators. Join in direct action to shut down harms manufacturers.



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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