Cohorts

Bella Himmelreich

Bella Himmelreich

I work at the Young Workers Centre in Canberra, equipping young workers with the tools they need to fight for their rights at work. I also volunteer with Tomorrow Movement, organising and training groups of young people across the country to fight for a future that works for ordinary people, not big business.

I am a proud Australian Services Union member and delegate, and am passionate about building a union movement that fights not just for better pay and conditions, but for broader social justice outcomes.

I first got involved in community organising through climate activism with a local divestment campaign. That experience led me to getting involved in a range of groups including the Australian Student Environment network and Fossil Free Unis / 350.org.

Carly Robertson

Carly Robertson

My journey into climate activism started with a conversation. I was a guest at Climate for Change conversation in 2016, and from there I was inspired to become a volunteer facilitator, and later a fundraiser, facilitator mentor and part of the 2019 Communications and Fundraising Fellowship. Throughout 2020 COVID lockdowns, I also helped expand the reach of MP Engagement Groups around Australia, supporting the startup of local groups to contact their MPs about climate issues. I was hired by the Australian Conservation Foundation as a Community Mobiliser for the 2019 Climate Election campaign to train volunteers and run voter calling parties. I’ve also been a Community Organiser in the shareholder activism team Market Forces working with shareholders and volunteers to hold businesses, banks and super funds to account on their investment in fossil fuels and their climate risk mitigation. I currently work as a Team Leader with Climate for Change, recruiting, training and supporting volunteer facilitators of Climate Conversations to step up and be part of the climate action movement. I believe that community organising is how we can channel the growing concern for climate change and our living world by helping everyday citizens to find their voice and make change happen.

Ella Shi

Ella Shi

I’m the Digital and Communications Organiser the Migrant Workers Centre. Our organisation works alongside the union movement to empower migrant workers to fight for their rights at work. We also lead campaigns fighting for changes across industrial law and calling for visa reform to improve the working lives of migrants in this country. My day to day work involves leading online campaigns, digital organising and working with the media.

I’m a proud ASU member and former ASU workplace delegate. I’m also a part of collectives around Naarm organising around anti-racism, migrant and refugee justice and decolonising work. Previously I was an organiser and 2019 election campaigner at GetUp.
I first got involved in community organising and the union movement at uni leading our student union’s people of colour collective.

Emily Jones

Emily Jones

I have long been passionate about environmental issues and the role that community organising can play to address them. I first became exposed to the power of community organising in high school, where I was part of a group of students who took on a retail giant for discrimination, resulting in the retailer changing their policies nationwide. I then became involved in Landcare, where I saw the incredible work communities were doing to address their local environmental problems.

These experiences led me to move to Canberra, where I studied a Bachelor of Science (Resource and Environmental Management) as well as a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the ANU. After moving here, I became involved in a variety of campaigns and organisations, gaining experience in community organising, campaigning, media and advocacy. I also co-founded ANU Intrepid Landcare and Canberra Students for Fair Work, organisations driven by the principles of community organising. After spending the last two years working in consumer protection at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, I moved to my current role as a community organiser at Farmers for Climate Action, an inclusive movement of farmers and rural Australians leading the way on climate solutions.

Emma-Leigh Synott

Emma-Leigh Synott

I am a medical doctor working as a Consultant Physician in Rehabilitation, at the State Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Unit, Perth.

I have had a passion for Environmental protection for many years and, having previously studied veterinary medicine, I have been mainly active in the areas of Wildlife Rehabilitation and habitat conservation.

More recently I have been more focused at theintersection of Climate and Health and work with Doctors for the Environment (DEA) – where I am the currentWA Chair and also sit on the DEA National Campaigns Committee. Through education, advocacy, and campaigning DEA aims to create the social and political change necessary to address climate change and other environmental issues that affect health.

In Western Australia I am also part of a working group for the WA Climate and Health Community of Practice (CoP). The WA CoP network enables collaboration across sectors at the intersection of Climate Change, human health, and health and social services. The overall aim is to assist in the building of Climate Change resilience across sectors, and to explore opportunity for action in the mitigation of, and adaptation to, future climate change.

Fahimah Badrulhisham

Fahimah Badrulhisham

I am a Muslim, and I believe an intersectional approach is crucial for climate justice. I am also a registered architect, and I started my own practice in 2019 that focuses on energy efficient, low carbon buildings.

Prior to being self-employed, my involvement in climate action had been signing petitions and despairing at the state of the world.

I was welcomed into community organising when I met the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) at a climate rally in Sydney. I believe their multi-faith angle to climate activism is valid and important, and I feel a conviction to dedicate my time and energy organising with them. I am currently the Sydney convener and a committee member of ARRCC.

Geoff Bice

Geoff Bice

I get to organise with a range of amazing people on different campaigns thanks to my role with the Uniting Church WA in their Social Justice team.

Whether it’s campaigns for the human rights of refugees and people seeking asylum, or First Peoples in the justice system or accelerating a just transition to renewable energy, it is so encouraging to see people get involved to create change.

I have been involved with churches and religious groups for a long time and have seen how local congregations can be little powerhouses of community energy to achieve change. So I am looking forward to strategising the best way to work with them on key campaigns.

 

Grace Vegesana

Grace Vegesana

I am the first Western Sydney Organiser for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), Organising Support Officer for Democracy in Colour, and a proud 21 year old woman-of-colour fighting for climate & racial justice on stolen Dharug, Gundungurra and Tharawal land across Western Sydney. I have previously worked with Future Super, Australia’s first fossil fuel free superfund and instigated the Not Business as Usual Alliance where 3000+ Australian businesses striked for the September 20 Climate Strike, because we should not have to pick between our paycheck and the planet.

I am also currently studying a double degree of Environmental & Climate Science and Law at Macquarie University, which enables me to understand both the science behind climate change and the social structures that uphold our current society. I believe deeply in the power of communities to become self-reliant and create the solutions they need. I am passionate about working in the intersection of climate and racial justice to build the power of young people in culturally, linguistically, and religiously diverse and climate-affected communities in Australia to forge generation-wide solutions to the climate crisis at a systemic level.

Hannah Ekin

Hannah Ekin

I currently work for Arid Lands Environment Centre on the campaign against fracking and new gas developments in Central Australia and the NT. My work involves building an alliance of activists, experts and affected communities such as pastoralists and First Nations people fighting fracking on their land, and raising the profile of fracking and pipelines as a public concern in Central Australia.

I first became involved in this campaign as a volunteer member of local anti-fracking group CAFFA while looking for a constructive response to my growing sense of doom and fear about climate change following the bushfire season and Central Australian record temperatures of summer 2019/20.

I previously lived in Indonesia for 3 years where I worked on an art-research project about land conflict in Jakarta bay, meeting a coalition of community leaders, architects, lawyers and activists invested in protecting the bay from exploitation and privatisation. The impressive way this coalition collaborated across divides of class, ideology and lived experience got me interested in community organising.

Hugh Nicklason

Hugh Nicklason

A newcomer to community organising, I first got involved in the wake of COVID-19 after moving home to Tasmania from overseas. Beginning in the sphere of environmentalism, I got involved with grassroots group Forestry Watch, with whom I volunteered in a number of capacities including scouting, citizen science, and social outreach. After 6 months of active participation, a group of friends and I decided to found another group – Grassroots Action Network Tasmania. Through this group I have been running events, managing a community garden, and seeking to empower different individuals and groups to challenge social and environmental injustices together.

I attended University of San Francisco on an athletic scholarship from 2016-2019. Here I Majored in International Studies with a focus on Cultures, Values, and Societies, with minors in Middle Eastern Studies, Cultural Anthropology, and Jewish Studies and Social Justice, while competing on the Track and Field and Cross Country teams. Prior to COVID-19, I had recently moved to Jerusalem where I was studying languages and running an independent project. In my spare time I enjoy music, poetry, running, spending time in the bush, and chilling with friends.

Jane McAllister

Jane MacAllister

In the late 80s, while door-knocking suburban Adelaide, volunteering for Greenpeace, i realised the power of conversation in active listening, raising awareness, and debunking myths. With a diploma in Experiential Astrology and Archetypal Therapy, HIMAA certificate in Medical Terminology, I am currently studying Executive Certificate for Elected Members with UTS. An elected Councillor for Wentworth Shire since 2016, I sit on many committees, enjoy making submissions, writing & debating motions and petitioning decision-makers & lobbyists involved in water management & environmental conservation.

I feel very lucky to be working with the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales as Community Organiser (Water), as I can combine my passion for water with my love of working with passionate communities.

Joshua Nichols

Joshua Sean Nichols

I am a 22 year old living in Tasmania. I grew up in Western Victoria and have always been passionate about nature and connection with nature. This connection bloomed when I moved to Tasmania 4 years ago. I fell in love with the forests down here and have been a passionate defender of forests down here and passionate about seeing a sustainable forestry industry. Recently I’ve realised the importance of community organising and trying to work towards the marriage of social and environmental movements to create the change we all want to see.

Kimberly Croxford

Kimberley Croxford

I grew up in a rural area of so-called Victoria. The Black Saturday bushfires were a catalyst in my life and the first time I grieved the wildlife and bush that I loved. I moved to Melbourne to study environmental journalismwhere I learnt about the human rights impacts of climate change and became passionate about climate justice, feminism and refugee rights. While covering a story about mining in the Takayna/Tarkine rainforest, I met campaigners from The Wilderness Society who inspired me to embrace activism. My first experience with community organising was during my five years as a Wilderness Society staff member, when I participated in Movement For Life program.

In 2019 I visited Camp Binbee, the frontline blockade camp to stop Adani. I fell in love with anti-hierarchical, decentralised organising here, while volunteering Frontline Action on Coal. As a volunteer organiser I now support grassroots environmental, anti-capitalist, and First Nations sovereignty campaigns.

Last year I helped organise non-violent direct action, training, solidarity work, facilitation and consensus workshops, and Beyond Mining: Protecting Land, Water and Life conference with groups like FLAC Kulin Nation/Melbourne, BBF, Blockade IMARC, and a broad coalition of local forest groups in so-called Victoria. In 2020 I also attended the wonderful ChangeMakers Organising School, which solidified my role as an organiser. This year, my primary focus will be growing grassroots campaigns to protect the ecologically significant, carbon dense forests on Taungurung and Wurundjeri country (the Central Highlands) where I grew up. I’ll also be working on mobilising music and arts communities in support of frontline climate justice, anti-racist, and First Nations sovereignty initiatives.

Lille Madden

Lille Madden

I am a proud Arrernte, Bundjalung and Kalkadoon woman from Gadigal country.

After working at Taronga Conservation Society in the Australian Fauna Precinct, I worked as the Natural Areas Aboriginal Heritage Officer with the Sutherland Shire Council. For the past two year’s I have also been acting as the Sydney coordinator for Indigenous Youth Climate Network, Seed Mob, Australia’s first Indigenous climate organisation. Currently I am completing a certificate in Conservation and Land Management at Tafe and am a First Nations consultant for Groundswell Giving.

I have worked on a number of community projects and feels a deep sense of responsibility towards the preservation and protection of our natural and cultural heritage

Mateja Simovic

Mateja Simovic

I’ve been an activist from a young age with my parents bringing me along to anti-war protests when I was a young child. Although I was a bit young to understand the nuances of the cause, I understood that injustice had to be met with action and that I was one amongst many.

I studied at the University of Sydney and was involved with student activism. I was always comfortable with putting my hand up for campaigns run by other people and did my best to do whatever work needed to be done.

Through my own interest in games and tech, I ended up becoming an organiser and founder of the Sydney branch of Game Workers Unite Australia, a labour activist organisation dedicated to organising workers in game development. The highlight of my career so far has been organising the formation of Sydney’s first game dev cooperative studio and also facilitating the games industry’s first right of entry by a union organiser.

In my spare time, I cook for Food Not Bombs, run a boardgames night at an anarchist bookshop, and moonlight full-time as a legal transcriptionist.

Michael McGrath

Michael McGrath

I grew up around the ocean on NSW’s South Coast. I studied political science, majoring in international relations and took a keen interest in human rights and progressive politics. During time overseas, I caught a glimpse of the immense power of people amongst widespread displays of civil disobedience in Guatemala. This experience set in motion a journey of research and journalism, eager to learn more about social movements.

I found my passion for community organising through volunteering and then working with GetUp on the campaign to oust Tony Abbott. Since then I have committed myself to exploring the climate justice space on home soil, and have volunteered with #StopAdani, the SS4C movement, and made connections with the grassroots across Sydney.

I’m currently an organiser at Tipping Point, supporting the Climate Strikers across the continent to build their power, hold decision makers to account, and turn the tide on the climate crisis. I enjoy surfing, hiking, music, and languages.

Rai

Raimundo Miralles

I am currently working as a Campaigner at Environment Victoria, where our main focus is to drive Victoria away from fossil fuels and to build a state where we can thrive within planetary boundaries. My work focuses on gas related issues, we are trying to prevent the development of new sources of gas supply and to ensure that we rapidly phase out the existing use. I am also a research volunteer at Market Forces.

During the last 2 years I have been part of a team focused on preventing the construction of a gas import terminal in Westernport Bay (a Ramsar Wetland) during this time I have had the privilege to work alongside other amazing enviro groups and a passionate and energetic community with a proud history of stopping destructive projects.

I am Chilean and grew up in the driest desert in the world. In a previous life I was a corporate lawyer (which thankfully I left behind). I also have Master in Business and Economics focused on environmental economics and energy. In my free time I can be found dancing salsa, training Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or doing some Yoga.

Shay Leighton

Shay Leighton

I’ve been involved in politics, protest and community organising in one form or another for as long as I can remember. Most of the time is was spent organising small activist groups into street level campaigning and protest teams, or building community organisation to address gaps in health or political coverage such as Tough Guy Book Club, a men’s book club organisation that focuses on encouraging reading, building comradery, fighting isolation, and improving mental health. I’m a regular face at protests and picket lines, or loudly debriefing about them at the pub afterwards.

I believe in empowering people to make collective based change in their community.

I’m currently an industrial organiser for the Finance Sector Union with a focus on building resilient, knowledgeable activists in the dehumanising grind of call centres.

“If you walk through life and don’t help anybody, you haven’t had much of a life” – Fred Hampton

Sunny

Sunny Hungerford

When I started to volunteer with Mackay Conservation Group and Frontline Action on Coal in 2017 I began to see both the great results and challenges with community organising.

My deep commitment to do my bit to leave our community and world a better place for our children started my journey of learning all can about how to do effective community organising.

I currently work with Mackay Conservation Group on Yuwi country in Central Queensland, where we aim to empower our community to protect our environment, and advocate as a group for the protection and repair of our environment to be a top priority for decision makers.

Some of our current campaigns include protecting waterways, stopping Adani’s Carmichael coal mine, habitat protection, and climate change.

Other things I spend my time on include being a full time home-school mum, and a wildlife carer.

Tony Goodfellow

Tony Goodfellow

I am currently the Victorian/Tas Community Organiser at RE-Alliance where we are working on climate action through the transition towards 100% renewable energy. A big focus is making sure regional communities make the most out of that transition and are not left behind. We have run campaigns for the federal election, state emission targets and policy. Recently I have closely engaged with supporters and others environmental groups for a green post-covid recovery

In my spare time I have been campaigning for a progressive Ballarat Council by establishing a new group that coordinates all the smaller civil society groups in Ballarat called the Ballarat Community Alliance. I have campaigned locally in Ballarat for climate action too though membership on the Board of Ballarat sustainability group, BREAZE, I run Green Drinks and help facilitate Ballarat Climate Action Network. Previously, I have run as a Greens candidate for local and state elections

I have a Bachelor degree in Natural Environment and Wilderness Studies with honours in sociology from where I looked at sustainable transport in Hobart. I also have a Master of Environment from Melbourne University. I caught the organising bug by completing the Sydney Alliance’s Foundation Organisers Training and am excited to take organising to the next level.

Will Potter

Will Potter

Being a proud Gundungurra man I have always been connected to Country and its story. As I grew aware of the threat that the climate crisis posed to Country, I felt an obligation to continue its story for the next generations. I started organising in my school and broader community when I was 16, founding a local team advocating on climate. I joined the School Strike movement and now having graduated, I help coordinate the ChangeMakers Organising School and support SEED.

Zoe Grant

Zoe Grant

I am currently the Community Organiser at Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia and through my role I am helping to start up refugee action groups across Sydney. Through this I support parishes and communities in their work advocating for and assisting people seeking asylum. I became deeply passionate about advocating for refugee rights and social justice after studying human rights subjects while completing my Bachelor of Applied Psychology at university.

Since then, I have enjoyed being able to do a variety of roles in this area. These have included working at ChilOut advocating for children in immigration detention and coordinating a refugee youth ambassador program, working at Settlement Services International where I ran a community hub at a school supporting refugee and migrant families and I was the Social Justice and Youth Coordinator at Vinnies.