Friends of the Earth Australia is a member of Friends of the Earth International which is the world's largest grassroots environmental network, uniting 77 national member groups and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent. With over 2 million members and supporters around the world, we campaign on today's most urgent environmental and social issues. We challenge the current model of economic and corporate neoliberal globalization, and promote solutions that will help to create environmentally sustainable and socially just societies.
The Asia Pacific region of Friends of the Earth is the most diverse region, encompassing groups from the global North and the global South. Member groups from the region are very active in community-based struggles against mining and other extractive industries. They work hand-in-hand with indigenous peoples, peasant farmers, and fisher folk to secure sustainable livelihoods and fight against vulnerability to "natural disasters".
Friends of the Earth Australia is a federation of autonomous local and affiliate groups who are working towards an environmentally sustainable and socially equitable future. FoE Australia functions both through the activities of its local and affiliate groups, and on the national level through national campaigns and projects, appointed spokespeople, national liaison officers and the national magazine, Chain Reaction. Friends of the Earth Australia currently has local groups in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Far North Queensland, South West WA and Adelaide. We also have 16 affiliate group members based around the country. Each local or affiliate group operates independently but also according to the Friends of the Earth Australia's vision and values.
Who’s The Boss?
Friends of the Earth is a flat, non-hierarchical organisation which uses consensus decision making processes. This means there are no bosses - and everyone gets a say in how the organisation is run and the strategic direction our campaigns take. Whilst this means whilst we don’t have a CEO, we do have a board of management as required by law.
Find out more about our structure, consensus decision making and governance here.
Our vision is of a world where everyone’s needs are met in a way which safeguards the future of the environment. We campaign for a world where environmental protection, social justice and economic welfare for all people, go hand in hand. Through our local, national and international networks, we work with the community to communicate, raise awareness, put forward alternatives and take action. Our philosophy and practice is grounded in our messaging 'mobilise, resist, transform'.
The alternative we seek to implement is a sustainable society. This involves a reliance on the use of renewable resources which are equitably distributed. It involves the recognition that there is an inextricable link between people and the environment.
FoE recognises that organised resistance and action are necessary catalysts for environmental, economic and social change. Such action is essential if we are to achieve a sustainable society based on the equitable distribution of resources and power and recognition of the rights of all people. Friends of the Earth Australia seeks to develop strong relations with environmental and social justice movements in all parts of the world and is committed to a set of objectives which guide our activities.
FoE Australia Objectives
The objectives of FoE Australia shall be:
1 To conserve, restore and protect the ecosphere.
2 To create a movement of change that recognises ecological sustainablility and social justice are indivisible.
3 To preserve the natural environment in Australia;
4 To promote public awareness of environmental issues in Australia, through promoting public awareness, direct action activities and the production of educational and community materials
5 To assist other people and organisations interested in these objectives to carry out their tasks through the maintenance of resource centres, newsletters, magazines and communication with like-minded national and international bodies
FoE sees that pursuing environmental protection is inseparable from broader social justice concerns, and as a result uses an environmental justice perspective in its campaigning. A strong social perspective means FoE Australia is well placed to develop alliances at the grassroots level with other organisations and communities.
Indigenous land and rights
FoE Australia supports Indigenous sovereignty and works at both the local level with specific Indigenous communities as well as participating in debates and campaigns at the national level. FoE Australia works through our local groups in partnership with Indigenous communities including campaigning with the Yorta Yorta people to achieve joint management of the Barmah Millewa forests in Victoria. FoE Australia acts as the secretariat for the Alliance Against Uranium, a forum for indigenous and non-indigenous communities to work together on issues relating to all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle.
FoE believes in working for a sustainable and empowering future. To this end, many FoE groups are working now to create the type of world we want: one that will be based on healthy communities and healthy ecosystems. A number of FoE groups operate businesses and other ventures that act as practical examples of sustainable business. In 1999 FoE Brisbane initiated the Reverse Garbage re-use centre, which finds community uses for industrial discards which would otherwise go to landfill. FoE Melbourne has been running a large food co-operative for over two decades and more recently, an organic cafe. We place great emphasis on working in partnerships with other organisations and communities to achieve positive and practical outcomes.
A listing of our partnerships and networks can be found here.