environmental groups and social justice groups - Australian directory

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 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.


Walkatjurra Cultural Learning and Education Centre

"Yamarr Kanyira" is the motto of Walkatjurra Cultural Centre it means to be the custodian of culture and traditions. We aim provide all Aboriginal people in the Northern Goldfields region with a valuable repository of cultural information, a base for culturally relevant activities such as land management, cultural maintenance, and arts-based enterprise. The Walkatjurra Cultural Centre operates three key activities, Ngalia Foundation's Goldfields Aboriginal Languages Project, the Walkatjurra Ranger Project and the Walkatjurra Art Project. The Ranger group provide opportunities for community members to undertake cultural maintenance activities, for youth to learn and for elders to promote their culture, and leads a month long walk annually across country effected by uranium mining (Walkajurra Walkabout).

We always welcome people with skills and expertise seeking an experience in outback WA and an opportunity to join us in our various projects. You can either do it officially through an organisation like Indigenous Community Volunteers or just contact us directly via email through our website.

Western Australia

Walkatjurra Walkabout

Walkatjurra Walkabout – Walking for Country, an annual month long walk from Yeelirrie to Leonora in WA, is a celebration of Wangkatja country, a testament to the strength of the community who have fought to stop uranium mining at Yeelirrie for over forty years, and a chance to come together to continue share our commitment to a sustainable future without nuclear. It is a chance to reconnect with the land, and to revive the tradition of walking for country. The walk is lead by the Walkatjurra Rangers, in partnership with Footprints for Peace, Western Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA), the Anti Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia (ANAWA) and the Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA).

Join the walk for a once in a life time experience or support the walk by contributing camp supplies or donating.

Western Australia

Warburton Environment

Warburton Environment is a small community organisation that carries out education, takes guided forest walks, hosts guest speakers and art exhibitions to protect the spectacular native forests surrounding the area that are subject to intensive logging. Warburton Environment put out a beautiful annual calendar with environmental awareness and sustainability information to raise funds for the forest.

Contact the group through Facebook or at community events in Warburton to get involved.


Warburton Habitat Tree

Warburton Habitat staff are a dedicated group of environmental educators who share a passion for nature, conservation and the Central Highlands of Victoria. We offer a broad knowledge of the environment specialising in areas of water, conservation, endangered species and local history. We are building of community awareness around the health and conservation of Victoria’s native forests, native wildlife and aquatic ecosystems. Increased ecological understanding will encourage individuals, groups and whole communities to take responsibility for the impact their actions have on nature and the world around them resulting in a respectful society that supports the sustainability of all living things!

Schools, sign up for one of our programs, ask a teacher to come to your school or take part in an biodiversity tour in our discovery centre.

Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance

WAR is a collective of young Aboriginal people committed to the cause of decolonization and the philosophy of Aboriginal nationalism - resistance and revival. In 2015 WAR organised rallys attended by thousands of people to protest the forced closure of remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. There's heaps lined up for this year.

Visit the WAR facebook page to find out about upcoming events and actions and come along.


West Hobart Environment Network

WHEN is a cooperative action by residents of West Hobart, to strengthen our community and to create a more sustainable future for our children. We have several working groups focussing on areas like gardening and food and sustainable transport. We will facilitate community projects and disseminate information relating to sustainable living. WHEN is part of the international Transition Towns movement which is working to build more resilient and vibrant local communities.

Check out our blog and add your own posts, contact our coordinator to get involved in a particular group. And take a look at our Walking West Hobart map.

lutruwita (Tasmania)

Western Australian Forest Alliance

The WA Forest Alliance was formed in 1990 to provide an umbrella body for the many community organisations in Perth and throughout the south-west concerned with forest conservation. We are dedicated to the protection of WA’s native forests and woodlands and an end to the logging, thinning and clearing of our public forests and woodlands. It is time for WA’s karri and jarrah forests to be protected and for the timber industry to complete the transition into sustainably managed plantations and farm forestry. A timber industry restructured in this way will be in the best environmental, social and economic interests of the State. The WA Forest Alliance has 20 member groups.

Please sign the online petition and share the link with your networks, volunteer or donate.

Western Australia

Western Australian Nuclear Free Alliance

WANFA, formed out of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance meeting in September 2009 is made up of Aboriginal Traditional Land Owners and their allies who are concerned about uranium mining on their country in Western Australia, from the Pilbara, the Kimberley, the Goldfields, the Great Victorian Desert, the Central Desert, the Gascoyne, Perth and the South West. WANFA demands that the government and industry respect the basic human rights of Aboriginal peoples and adhere to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, respecting our right to self-determination and engaging with Aboriginal peoples within the framework of the principle of free, prior and informed consent. Current campaigns include opposing a national nuclear waste dump and protecting WA's biggest national park (Kintyre) from uranium mining.

Get in touch with WANFA to join the campaign, stay up to date with protests and actions online, or get involved with the WANFA Roadshow that travels to remote communities to provide information about the uranium industry.

Western Australia

Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH)

Wildlife of the Central Highlands is a grassroots organisation working towards the protection of Victoria’s native forests and their flora, fauna and ecological values by means of citizen science, collaboration and community engagement.The Central Highlands of Victoria are located 90 minutes north-east of Melbourne. Here, you can find forests of towering Mountain Ash: the tallest flowering plants in the world. These forest are the most carbon-dense on the planet and host a suite of unique and rare wildlife.

The tragedy of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires devastated a vast area of the Central Highlands. Despite this, clear-fell logging still continues within the Central Highlands, further imposing the threat of extinction on the native wildlife of the forest.

Come to the forest with us and learn how to spotlight for wildlife, write up reports and send them to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to try and protect them. Join in the campaign to end logging in our native forests.


Wildlife Protection Association of Australia

We actively engage government and industry to provide accountable and sustainable policies and practices to better manage our fragile environment. We are pledged to campaign against all actions which threaten the current or future existence of our wildlife. We promote positive community attitudes through education, communication and advocacy. The single most important issue facing our wildlife is lack of education. WPAA provides a range of educational products and services. WPAA runs campaigns against the commercial killing of kangaroos and trophy hunting, flying fox shooting, the Tasmanian mutton bird kill; raise awareness about the impacts of bush fires, land clearing and increasing population; and campaign for increased wildlife and marine protection, especially the protection of Fraser Island's dingos.

We invite members to raise issues of concern, then lobby government to have those issues addressed. This includes regular correspondence and meetings with relevant ministers and government departments to progress issues raised by members.

Wildlife Rescue NSW

The primary function of Wildlife Rescue is to provide a call centre service throughout NSW for the rescue of native animals. This service is provided free of charge to voluntary organisations engaged in such rescues. A team of qualified WRI rescuers is being established for the Coffs Harbour region.

Become a member and participate in phone duty, rescues or other activities.

New South Wales

Wildlife Victoria

Wildlife Victoria has been at the forefront of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in Victoria since 1989. We are one of the largest wildlife rescue, care and rehabilitation organisations operating a comprehensive statewide, wildlife rescue network. WV deals with the end result of wildlife that has been injured or displaced through human activity, road trauma (the other road toll), feral animals, tree felling, land clearing and pollution.

WV provides a 24 hour phone line for wildlife rescue, placement and expert advice; runs environmental awareness and public education programs; runs forums and training for wildlife rehabilitators regarding caring for native wildlife; provide discounted animal food supplies and equipment to members; and assistance in other areas of emergency wildlife rescue and wildlife management such as bushfires, floods, oil spills, translocation and reintroduction of wildlife.

You can get involved with hands-on animal rescues or volunteer from your own home. This varying level of volunteering means we can find something for almost anyone who wants to help. Wildline, our 24-hour wildlife rescue network is always in need of volunteers to either provide advice and contacts for the nearest wildlife shelter, or organise a rescue. All Wildline volunteers receive training and an extensive manual.

WIRE Women's Information

Women across Victoria contact WIRE Women’s Information for support, information and referrals on any issues, such as family relationships and legal issues; domestic/family violence; housing and homelessness; emotional well-being; mental health—anxiety, fear, stress and depression; and job search, study options and community volunteering. It’s free and confidential. WIRE runs many free programs for women including Job Coaching sessions, legal clinics, computer classes and our AMICA Women’s Lunch Club. Our daily work and research projects with women inform and support our advocacy work on women’s key issues, such as the prevention of violence against women, and women’s equal participation in the workforce.

If you are interested in volunteering and training at WIRE as a telephone support worker call 1300 134 130 to register your interest and to attend our next training orientation session. We run three training programs a year in February, May and October. Besides our telephone support workers, volunteers and student placements also assist us in the Information Centre and the office. Others offer their professional expertise in areas such as communication, photography or IT on a project or ongoing basis.


Wombat Action Group

Grassroots advocacy group, campaigning to protect Wombat State Forest, on lands of the Kulin Nation, from commercial logging by engaging, educating and empowering community to take direct action.

Please follow Wombat Action Group on Facebook to keep up with events and actions. Contact us at to get
Involved all kinds of others ways.

Kulin Nation

Wombat Action Group

Grassroots advocacy group, campaigning to protect Wombat State Forest, on lands of the Kulin Nation, from commercial logging by engaging, educating and empowering community to take direct action.

Please follow Wombat Action Group on Facebook to keep up with events and actions. Contact us at to get
Involved all kinds of others ways.

Kulin Nation

Women’s Health In the North (WHIN)

The work of Women’s Health In the North (WHIN) aims to strengthen women’s health, safety and wellbeing, with a strategic focus on preventing violence against women, sexual and reproductive rights, economic participation and environmental justice. WHIN's Northern Integrated Family Violence Services (NIFVS) Coordination Team leads the implementation of the Victorian Government's family violence reforms in Melbourne's northern metropolitan region. We have particular expertise in meeting the needs of women who are most marginalised by the health system, and who might generally be referred to as ‘hard to reach’ or ‘at risk’.

To volunteer or become a free member of WHIN, or apply for a student placement position please call or email the office.



Woor-Dungin’s vision is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their rich culture to be acknowledged, valued and embraced by Australian society.
Woor-Dungin is a coalition of Indigenous organisations, philanthropic trusts and foundations, pro-bono service providers and community groups working in partnership to enable Indigenous organisations to achieve self determination and access the resources and support needed to address issues affecting their communities. The purpose of Woor-Dungin is to increase resources, build strong partnerships and share knowledge to fulfil the purpose of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. We strengthen the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander organisations through training, mentoring/support and provision of comprehensive website resources.

Contact us to find out how to get involved.


World League for the Protection of Animals

Established in 1935, WLPA campaigns for the protection of kangaroos and the end of the commercial killing industry, gathers research and statistics in relation to 1080 and the devastating impacts it has on wildlife, and campaigns to achieve social change in neglectful and ambivalent attitudes towards cats, both owned and unowned, in urban areas.

Become a foster carer for a cat or dog, become a member or volunteer with us.

New South Wales


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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