The Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) is a national not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to increase the understanding and practical implementation of Earth centred law, governance and ethics (or ‘Earth jurisprudence’) in Australia. Earth jurisprudence is a new legal theory and growing social movement. It proposes that we rethink our legal, political, economic and governance systems so that they support, rather than undermine, the integrity and health of the Earth.
The need for new governance systems has never been greater: as we face a climate changed world and transition away from our destructive reliance of fossil fuels, human societies need to create new ways of working together and nurturing the wider Earth community.
AELA works to build long term systemic change, so that human societies can shift from human centred to Earth centred governance. Our vision is to create human societies that live within their ecological limits, respect the rights of nature and enjoy productive, sustainable economies that nurture the health of the wider Earth community.
AELA carries out its work by supporting multi-disciplinary teams of professionals engaged in research, education, publications, community capacity building and creating new models of Earth friendly governance. Our team includes indigenous community leaders, lawyers, economists, scientists, deep ecologists, artists and community development practitioners. AELA works on a membership-participation model and is powered by committed volunteers, who work together as individuals and organisations across Australia. All our work is driven by our members’ interests and commitment – so become a member and get involved!
Visit the AELA website for more information about the work we do!
Core Themes of Our Work
Theme 1 – Cultural Change
AELA believes it is critical to shift cultural beliefs in Western industrialised societies away from human centredness and return to an Earth centred world view. We work to achieve cultural change, through education, the arts and cross-cultural learning, which will in turn drive and support the systemic changes we need to make to our legal, economic and political systems to nurture the Earth community.
Theme 2 – Reconnecting with what matters
AELA is committed to enriching the transformation of law and governance by ensuring that it is informed and deeply connected to ‘the stuff that matters’. For us, this includes: traditional and contemporary indigenous knowledge, a greater understanding of and respect for the natural sciences and a greater acknowledgement of the role that the human spirit plays in driving ecological awareness and change. AELA is committed to ensuring that law, governance and ethics reconnects with the human heart and spirit. We believe that as individuals, our love of the Earth community is a key driver for all personal and professional action, and can be nurtured to create more Earth-centred governance systems.
Theme 3 – Building Community
AELA’s work focusses on supporting the role of civil society in creating the long lasting changes that we need to make, in order to live in greater harmony with the non-human world and forge truly sustainable human societies. We believe in the phenomenal energy, expertise and commitment of environmentally focussed individuals and community based organisations, and our strategies reflect this focus on civil society (ie non-government and non-corporate sectors of Australian society).
Theme 4 – Building Alternatives
AELA’s work includes a strong emphasis on creating a positive vision for Earth centred human governance. To do this, we’re engaged in a range of practical projects that demonstrate how our current legal, economic and political systems can be, and should be, if we’re to nurture the Earth community rather than destroy it. Our core projects include: GreenPrints, the New Economy Network Australia, Peoples Tribunal for the Rights of Nature Australia and the Wild Law Judgments Project.
Theme 5 – Transforming law and governance
The ultimate goal of all our work is to transform Australian culture, law, ethics and governance – at all scales – to be Earth centred. We see our other four programs as contributing to the direct transformation of law and governance, and we will draw on the work in our other programs to develop our law reform and advocacy work.
Within our core themes of work, we have created a range of programs that aim to implement and achieve our goals.
Our current programs include:
- AELA Education
- Australian Centre for the Rights of Nature
- Challenging Consumption
- Earth Arts
- Earth Ethics
- Exploring Ecospirituality
- Future Dreaming
- GreenPrints and Ecological Limits
- New Economy
- Peoples Tribunal for the Rights of Nature Australia
- Wild Law Judgments Project