Friends of the Earth Melbourne, our campaigns office, community meeting space and Food Co-op and Cafe are located in Yálla-Birrang, Wurundjeri Country, in the Kulin Nation. We acknowledge that we meet and organise across many nations spanning the area currently known as Victoria where sovereignty has never been ceded. We pay respects to First Nations elders past and present.
Mobilise - Resist - Transform
Since 1973, we have defended and protected forests and waterways, stood as allies in the struggles for First Nations’ self determination and land rights, opposed uranium mining, protested the destruction of war and kept fossil fuels in the ground.
We have built thriving social enterprises that challenge the status quo, promote sustainable consumption, put workers first and help fund environmental and social action.
We don’t have a CEO or bosses, we strive for anti-hierarchy and practice consensus decision-making. Each group has the autonomy to do whatever they need to protect the natural environment as long as they act in accordance with these principles.
Because we organise in a way that means groups of activists can self manage what they do, a sense of organisational unity comes from our shared beliefs that environmental and social justice are inextricably linked, and consensus decision making is essential to collective process
We actively support the rights of women, First Nations people, people of colour, minority ethnic groups, the young and the aged, LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, the working class and the unemployed, who are on the frontlines of both social and climate justice struggles. We seek justice and liberation from all oppressive systems that devalue and exploit people and the environment, including patriarchy, colonialism, class oppression, capitalism, racism, ableism and heteronormativity.
We work from a climate justice perspective and understand that long lasting system change requires challenging the dominant interlinked and mutually reinforcing systems of oppression that we live in and under. Therefore we are proudly:
Anti Hierarchy Anti Patriarchy Anti Colonialism Anti Capitalism Anti Oppression
It is the members of Friends of the Earth who decide how and what we campaign on
There are many ways to be a member of Friends of the Earth! We value all forms of labour and work, so no matter what you want to do: research policy, write poetry, paint banners, fundraise, strategise, plan actions, cook food... we welcome you to come in and find out about how you can be part of the Friends of the Earth community.
Our community of activists works together in small working groups and collectives. Each with a minimum of five members, we aim to harness collective intelligence - the idea that intelligence doesn’t just happen in individual brains, it also arises from groups of people - to imagine outcomes with greater creativity than any individual could achieve by themselves.
These organising groups are usually focussed on a specific area or issue within an established network of trust and are responsible for the formation of their goals, their strategy, what tactics they will use, and are responsible for the maintenance of their own budget, and raising their own funds.
Any group of five or more members can apply to form a working group or campaign collective of Friends of the Earth Melbourne.
Governance and Structure - Decentralised Autonomous Action
Campaign Collectives actively campaign on particular issues of concern. The collective structure is based on mutually defined aims that serve to support the execution of longer running projects, until such time as the campaign is completed. New collectives can be born out of a working group, or by making an application to the Strategy collective.
The collective structure is designed to create an environment where all members are free to speak and act and have equal access to information and decision making. All participants are encouraged to air their views, to be part of group decisions, to bring new ideas to the collective and to learn from others
Working groups can be established within an existing collective, or discussed and decided on by consensus by the Strategy Collective. They can be used to incubate ideas, or carry out temporary projects. For example, a working group could be established to coordinate a specific event or explore new campaign directions.
Food Co-op and Cafe
The Friends of the Earth kitchen is an active community space in which cooks, coordinators, volunteers and customers share skills and stories about food while inspiring our local community to support ethical food production and choose waste reducing alternatives.
Our Food Co-op and Cafe has been operating as a flourishing social enterprise in the inner north since the 1970's. We are not for profit, which means that every cent you spend with us goes right back into keeping Friends of the Earth Melbourne running and supporting our grassroots campaigns. Members of Friends of the Earth Melbourne receive a discount on all purchases of bulk foods, groceries and meals.
The Strategy Collective is essential to holding the culture, politics and vision of the network collectively; it is the place we come to to resolve our differences, explore ideas, and develop allyship and solidarity. In the Friends of the Earth network, the Strategy Collective is made up of representatives from each working group and campaign collective and includes all paid workers.
The Strategy Collective meets once a month to provide critical analysis on campaign strategy and tactics, hold skillshares, decide on new projects, and discuss important business which impacts the whole network.
The Operations Collective provides the network with administrative, human resources, risk management financial and fundraising support and manages the ‘Friends of the Earth Commons’ of shared resources; which include meeting spaces and campaign offices as well as software, databasing, campaign tools and resources, public liability, and equipment.
At Friends of the Earth there are no bosses; the Operations Collective is not the board or the management team, but instead serves to operationalise the needs of the members to participate in the network effectively.
Some collectives may elect to establish a Steering Committee to provide advice and support to a group of activists. A Steering Committee might be made up of previous coordinators and collective members that no longer have capacity to be involved in the day-to-day coordination of campaigns, but offer a wealth of previous experience and knowledge. A steering committee could also include invited members from partner organisations.
Policy Advisory Committee
As an Incorporated Association and registered Charity, Friends of The Earth Melbourne is required by law to have a committee of management that is elected by the Friends of the Earth Melbourne membership each year at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Our Committee of Management is called the ‘Policy Advisory Committee’ and is legally required to bear responsibility for legal compliance, adherence to our constitutional rules, probity and solvency as an organisation.
National and International Federation of Activists
Friends of the Earth campaigns from the local to global level: we are part of the FoE Australia Federation and FoE Australia is, in turn, a member of FoE International, which is the largest grassroots federation of environmental activists in the world and currently active in more than 70 countries, with over 2 million supporters and members world wide.
We also partner with many other grassroots groups across the continent, check out some of our partnerships here.