Climate change is a global issue predicted to cause significant disruption to food security, human health, freshwater resources, economic sectors, and natural ecosystems. The United Nations is urging countries to take immediate measures to combat the climate crisis and its impacts. Not-for-profit organisations are making significant contributions to this complex problem through research, advocacy, policy, education, environmental management, and building community alliances.
This give list provides a range of not-for-profit organisations working to address the climate crisis.
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While the entities listed below are all known to APS, we do not conduct a detailed analysis of their financial position and governance ahead of their inclusion in this list. This is not an exhaustive list of the many not-for-profit organisations working in this space.
Australian Conservation Foundation
Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) advocates for action on tackling climate change and preserving Australia’s rich biodiversity. Founded over fifty years ago, ACF has been involved in protecting places such as the Kimberley, Franklin River, Kakadu, Daintree, Antarctica and many others. ACF has also been key in creating Landcare, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Murray Darling Basin Plan and the world’s largest marine park network. Main advocacy campaigns include nature protection and tackling climate change by transitioning Australia away from extracting and burning polluting fossil fuels (e.g. the Stop Adani campaign). ACF analyses the underlying causes of environmental degradation and advocates for solutions.
Australian Youth Climate Coalition
AYCC is Australia’s largest youth-run organisation, with a mission to build a movement of young people leading solutions to the climate crisis. The organisation’s initiatives aim to educate, inspire and mobilise young people to win campaigns for a safe climate, to keep fossil fuels in the ground and build a future powered by clean energy. They also run Seed Mob (https://www.seedmob.org.au/), Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network.
Beyond Zero Emissions
Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) is an internationally recognised think tank that shows through independent research and innovative solutions how Australia can prosper in a zero-emissions economy. To inspire political leadership and accelerate policy change, they publish research on technological solutions that unlock huge economic potential for industries, regions and communities.
Climate Action Network
The Climate Action Network facilitates collaboration between close to 100 member organisations in order to achieve more effective climate change action. It coordinates a national climate advocacy strategy and provides infrastructure for ongoing communication between members.
Climate Council Australia
Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation, aiming to provide the public with scientific and expert resources on the climate, health, renewable energy and policy. The organisation seeks to unify the voices of those working in allied professions to get the stories into the media and bring awareness to climate stories, call out misinformation and publicise practical climate solutions. The Climate Council was founded through community support in 2013 when the government abolished the Australian Climate Commission. It recently formed the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, a group of former senior emergency service leaders who are pushing for strong leadership on climate change action. It continues to depend 100% on the philanthropic support from the community to deliver its message to the wider public.
Climate Works (working within the Monash Sustainable Development Institute) was established in 2009 by the Myer Foundation and Monash University to bridge the gap between research and climate action. It provides independent and credible advice on moving towards a low carbon future, taking into consideration the interests of business, government and investors. They have had some major wins, getting policies across the line by using discrete, below the radar diplomacy and focusing on ‘low hanging fruit’, i.e., areas with big climate impacts (e.g., construction) that don’t have the same political clout that certain other climate policies attract.
Cool Australia creates high quality educational content and online professional development courses about contemporary issues, including climate change, with a reach into 89% of Australian schools. Partner organisations provide real world content such as documentary films, fun events, research, videos or campaigns. The Cool Australia team of educational and digital experts use these assets (such as the documentary 2040) to create high quality materials for early learning, primary and secondary educators. The finished material is hosted online and can be downloaded free of charge.
Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA)
DEA aims to help create the social and political change necessary to address climate change and other environmental issues that affect health. It does this by influencing the public and decision makers, through education, advocacy and campaigning. DEA uses a combination of key interventions for greater impact. It educates and influences decision-makers, both as an expert public voice, and as a valued partner in broader movements for change. It does this through:
- Educating medical doctors and institutions about climate change, mobilising them for advocacy and campaigning, and promoting sustainability within the health care system.
- Translating robust scientific research into messaging, educational and advocacy materials.
- Writing submissions to government reviews.
- Engaging with mainstream and social media.
- Campaigning and awareness-raising.
Environmental Defenders Office
Environmental Defenders Office is a community legal centre specialising in pubic interest environmental law. They work with people who want to protect the environment through law by providing: legal and scientific advice and litigation, policy and law reform, and community engagement and education.
Farmers for Climate Action
Farmers for Climate Action is a movement of farmers, agricultural leaders and rural Australians working to ensure farmers are a key part of the solution to climate change. They support farmers to build climate and energy literacy and advocate for climate solutions both on and off-farm. They hold events and support farmers to have a voice in the national debate on climate. They do this through four key pillars: farmer education and training; political and industry advocacy; building farmer networks; and forging partnerships across industry and research.
Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth Australia is part of a global movement advocating for climate justice, land and water security, food and technology sustainability, a sustainable economy and Indigenous land rights and recognition. Friends of the Earth Australia is associated with (and lends its DGR-1 status to) 350.org Australia, which is also part of the global 350.org – a movement of people seeking clear action on climate change and a move away from fossil fuels.
Created in late 2019, Groundswell Giving was set up to fund and accelerate climate action in Australia. Groundswell is a giving circle created in response to the climate crisis, accelerating action and supporting solutions by funding strategic, high-impact climate advocacy in Australia. Groundswell’s funding focus is advocacy to keep fossil fuels in the ground and accelerate a rapid and just transition to a zero-carbon economy across four impact areas: building the movement, changing the story, shifting the money and changing the politics.
Groundswell members get to learn about the climate crisis and its solutions, take part in the rotating shortlisting committee, and vote on which strategic climate advocacy projects to fund in each grant round. Groundswell offers gratis memberships to First Nations changemakers in acknowledgement of reparations. They also pay honorariums for First Nations members to partake in their shortlisting process, to ensure First Nations people are centred in decision making processes about grant making strategy and distribution of funding. Groundswell have
already provided funding to Indigenous focused initiatives in the climate change space including Seed, Our Islands Our Home, the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council, Common Ground and First Nations Futures.
Lock the Gate
Lock the Gate is an alliance of grassroots movements across Australia, including farmers, traditional custodians, conservationists and everyday citizens who are concerned about risky coal mining, coal seam gas and fracking. The Alliance aims to help these organisations protect Australia’s natural resources and empower Australians to demand sustainable solutions to food and energy production. Almost 40% of the Australian landmass has coal and petroleum licences and applications attached to it. Lock The Gate aims to help communities who are trying to stand up to some of the less scrupulous, big mining and extraction companies, with practical tools and case studies, resources about their rights, and templates to help them organise and stand up for themselves.
ABN 11 227 328 793 (Fund through Documentary Australian Foundation)
Regen Studios is a film and impact production company dedicated to producing and amplifying screen content that informs, inspires and activates audiences. Their focus is on the power of storytelling to create and support the growing movement of people around the world who are interested and invested in learning about regeneration, and integrating regenerative practices into their lives, so that collectively we can improve our ecological and social systems.
Sweltering Cities works directly with people affected by extreme heat and rising temperatures to advocate and campaign for more liveable, sustainable and equitable cities. Working at the intersection of health, economic injustice and climate change, they aim to win community campaigns to create sustainable, liveable and resilient cities. Campaigns with solutions and strategies that can be repeated and applied across the country:
- put the voices of people most affected by extreme heat (and those with the fewest resources to keep themselves and their families cool and safe) in our cities front and centre in media coverage;
- build powerful networks of diverse people and organisations, working together to mitigate and build resilience to catastrophic global warming.
Take 3 Ltd
Take 3, also known as Take 3 for the Sea, was established in 2009 based on the belief that simple action could produce profound consequences. Take 3’s mission is to reduce global plastic pollution through education and participation. The organisation is based on the simple message of taking 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway or…anywhere. Take 3 delivers educational programs in schools, surf clubs, communities and online to increase awareness of plastic pollution and drive participation to decrease plastic pollution and associated impacts.
Total Environment Centre
Working with Australians for over 40 years to preserve the ecosystems that support Australia’s communities, TEC was originally formed by the save the national park and rainforests movement of the 1970s – they now have over 100 eco victories behind them. Today they still care about trees and supporting communities who struggle to conserve precious parks and bushland, but they also work to preserve clean air and stop coastal sand mining. They advocate for renewable energy by encouraging innovation, a more flexible modern energy market, and incentivising via government investment; improved recycling infrastructure to protect waterways and oceans from plastic pollutants; and more robust legislation around native animals and plants to ensure food and water security for the future.
Tomorrow Movement brings together young people to counter the influence of big business in Australian politics to create good jobs, great community services and a safe climate for all. The Climate Jobs Guarantee is a public policy agenda that would help deliver the action necessary to tackle the climate crisis, as well as guarantee economic security and community renewal.
Last updated 3 May 2023