Volunteer community principles

Thank you for joining the team at Environment Victoria! Here are some principles to guide how we work together and ensure our spaces are inclusive and comfortable for everyone.

We come together for a purpose

We are a community of Victorians working to address the climate crisis and build a thriving, sustainable society that values nature and communities.

We work together in local communities to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and move Victoria beyond fossil fuels. We are building resilient, skilled and engaged communities and groups. We build political power to create meaningful and lasting change.

How we apply this

We know our purpose, and we say it out loud regularly. We explain our purpose to new people. 

We work towards our purpose by running local community campaigns that are connected to state and national campaigns for maximum impact.

When deciding what to do, we ask: will this bring us closer to our purpose and goals?

We want solutions that are just, fair and sustainable 

Environmental degradation and the climate crisis are closely linked to issues of social inequality. We support justice for frontline and impacted communities, and we seek solutions that will improve Victoria for all peoples. 

How we apply this

Sometimes the best use of our time is to show solidarity to marginalised groups. Listening is always the first step.

When supporting solutions, we think about their social, as well as environmental, impact. 

We seek to educate ourselves and each other about the underlying social and economic problems that drive environmental degradation and develop campaign strategies that address them.

We grow our power by always inviting people in

We need maximum participation to build our community and achieve our goals, so we are always looking to welcome new people into our groups and campaigns. We need to resist the forces that act to isolate and divide our communities. We are always seeking to talk to new people, build relationships, collaborate with more people  and grow in numbers. 

How we apply this

We talk to our neighbours, our work mates, our school mates, and our families and ask them to get involved. 

When we run a tactic or event, we always include a way for people to join our local group. 

If someone shows interest in joining our local group, we give them a call as soon as possible and make them feel welcome.

We regularly ask relational questions to build stronger connections, like “What inspired you to take action for our environment?”

We are inclusive and diverse

Our care for the environment includes people and social justice. We treat all people with respect, including those with different life experiences or views. We work to make our community welcoming to people from all walks of life so that we can build maximum community participation and power. We stand up against discrimination in the Environment Victoria community, including sexism, classism, racism, homophobia, ableism, ageism and transphobia. 

How we apply this

We invite group members to share their preferred name and pronouns. 

We don’t use language that might harm or exclude others. 

When we witness discrimination or prejudice, we intervene with compassion. 

We constantly seek to learn and reflect on our own actions and place in the world, and we invite feedback from others to help us learn more inclusive practices.

We are staunchly independent and non-partisan

We engage with politics in ways that are bold, creative, and non-partisan. We hold all political parties to the same standards of accountability and align with none. We believe that healthy democracy requires an active civil society, and support all community members to engage in politics with us. 

How we apply this

We try to build a relationship with all local politicians in our area. When we contact one local MP, we contact them all. 

We connect with a broad range of people over the love we all feel for our natural world.

We are focused on issues and policies, not parties, and we don’t tell people who to vote for. 

We act nonviolently and lawfully

Strong movements require many forms of changemaking, including peaceful civil disobedience. Unlawful blockades helped stop the Franklin dam, the Jabiluka mine and protected vast areas of Victorian forests. In recent years an organised campaign by politicians and industries opposed to conservation has placed extraordinary legal restrictions on the environmental movement,  limiting our ability to engage these tactics. As a registered charity, to be involved in unlawful actions at this time would pose an existential risk to our organisation and work. 

How we apply this

We engage in lawful and peaceful advocacy and act strategically within the law to make Victoria an environmental leader. 

We only engage in tactics that are peaceful and nonviolent.

While representing Environment Victoria, we engage in tactics that are lawful. Outside of our time volunteering with Environment Victoria, community members are free to participate in forms of activism of our choosing. 

We seek common ground with allies and unlikely partners

We can’t achieve a thriving environment and healthy communities alone, so we seek to find common ground with others. Our community groups build local networks of diverse groups and organisations.

How we apply this

We seek out conversations with people who have different views and life experiences to us, and we listen actively to help us understand and find common values and ways of working together.

We regularly reach out to support and collaborate with other local groups and networks, including those who don’t traditionally work with the environment movement. 

We respect the leadership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of this country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay respect to Elders past and present and acknowledge the pivotal roles of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in caring for country and wildlife across Victoria. We acknowledge that First Nations communities are heavily and unjustly impacted by environmental degradation.

How we apply this

We Acknowledge Country at the beginning of our meetings and gatherings, and take the time to educate ourselves about the land on which we live.

We educate ourselves about the Traditional Owners of areas we live and campaign in, and seek out opportunities to learn from them.

We look for ways to support local Aboriginal justice campaigns. 

We seek out the views of local Aboriginal leaders, and those views inform our campaigns.