About the Green Institute

About the Green Institute

The Green Institute is an Australian non-profit organisation, established formally in October 2008, with our mission being to “support green politics through education, action, research and debate“.  Green politics means broad community-wide change grounded in the principles of ecology, social justice, democracy, non-violence, sustainability and respect for diversity (see the Global Greens Charter).

We are supported by a grant-in-aid from the Commonwealth government, earned income from events and activities, and by donations and volunteer help. Donations to support our work are welcome (and tax deductible for Australian citizens).

Our Strategic Vision:

Most ‘progressive’ think tanks and NGOs in Australia are content with making change within the existing system. Too often, they temper their demands to fit into what is currently acceptable in our politics, or couch their campaigns in values and terms which buttress the existing system rather than challenging it.

But the system is skewed against us. The only way we can create a world in line with our four pillars – green, peaceful, equitable and democratic – is by changing the system. The only way we can tackle climate change – and ensure that communities are resilient enough to withstand the climate change already locked in – is by shifting the culture, changing “what is possible”.

This vital task has become far more urgent and important. While signs have been pointing in this direction for some time, the phenomena of Trump, Sanders, Brexit, Pauline Hanson and more show that the neoliberal consensus our system rests on is rapidly disintegrating and that, so far, the far right is doing a much better job of recruiting alienated, disenchanted and disenfranchised people.

This is no surprise. It is far easier to convince alienated, disconnected people to turn against a scary ‘other’. It is far easier to convince alienated, disenchanted people not to trust ‘experts’, ‘science’, or ‘elites’. In a very real sense, the racism, sexism, violence and denialism now so prevalent in our politics is the predictable result of two generations of corporate-led hyper-individualism.

But we have a better story to tell to overcome alienation – a story of compassion rather than hate, optimism rather than revenge, cooperation rather than splintering. Where the right’s solutions not only appeal to our baser instincts but also will never make life better for most people – frankly, it’s not their intention – our solutions are designed to improve people’s lives in a fairer, greener world.

While the Green Institute, as a tiny organisation, cannot deliver massive systemic change, what we can do is stimulate others. We can create the space for others to move into, provide tools and forums for discussing new ideas, and develop close links with those doing grassroots organising, and the capacity to reach many more people. And we can work in ways which build social and political engagement – being the change we wish to see in the world.

We can also carefully select strategic points of intervention. We can choose to work on issues which, by being raised and prosecuted, stretch the bounds of our current political discourse, call into question the political and economic system, and tell a powerful, inspiring story that our solutions are better than the right’s.

Through major reports and events, we create idea tsunamis that can sweep away old ideas and replace them with new ones. Through opinion pieces, blog posts, podcasts, etc, we create ripples on the water which, slowly but surely, change the shape of the shoreline. Through building spaces for conversation, giving people new tools and arguments, and helping them shift opinions more effectively, we invite more and more people into the water.

Politics is the art of the possible. What we need to achieve is not currently possible. We will change what is possible.

Our people

Executive director

Tim Hollo, Canberra. Tim is a highly respected environmentalist and musician, having worked for organisations including the Greens, Greenpeace, 350.org and others, as well as performing in venues from Woodford Folk Festival to New York’s Carnegie Hall. Tim is the founder and Executive Director of Green Music Australia, served as Communications Director for Christine Milne, has sat on the board of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, and has been published in the Guardian, ABC, Griffith Review, Crikey and elsewhere.

Communications & Projects Officer

Elissa Jenkins, Bribie Island. Elissa is a communications and fundraising specialist and a professional puppeteer. Elissa has worked in newspapers, the non-profit sector, the renewable energy sector, arts and entertainment, and has supported small to medium businesses and social enterprises to flourish. In 2013, Elissa was named one of YWCA Queensland’s 125 Leading Women – as a woman who has made a significant contribution to her community and modelled leadership through her actions and words. Elissa served on the Green Institute Board from 2008 to 2016.

Green Institute Board

Chris Twomey, Perth (Chair). Director of Policy for the Western Australian Council of Social Service. Chris represents a community and consumer voice on a number of advisory panels in WA. He was previously Senior Adviser to Senator Rachel Siewert on social justice, Indigenous issues, community services, natural resource management and marine policy. He has also worked in natural resource management, science communications, Aboriginal education and educational multi-media production.

Bob Hale, Melbourne. Senior Project Manager with IBM. He has over 20 years experience managing major international Information Technology projects. He is also the convener of his local Greens branch.

Sue Lewis, Melbourne. Researcher and Sustainability Catalyst at the National Centre for Sustainability, Swinburne University. She has extensive experience in environmental science, environmental education, cross cultural and global studies, research project and team management, and organisational change.

Chris Tucker, Melbourne. He is one of the founding design partners of Chorus Studio, formed in 2006. Over the last 15 years he has headed three studios and worked as both designer and strategist with a variety of public and private sector clients.

Julie Lyford OAM, Gloucester NSW. Julie is a former registered nurse, local councillor and mayor who founded Gloucester Sustainable Futures Convention and co-founded Gloucester Environment Group. She is currently chair of Groundswell Gloucester which was instrumental in halting AGL’s Gloucester coal seam gas project in 2016 and the Rocky Hill coal mine proposal in the Gloucester Basin in 2019.

Hayley Conway. Hayley is a strategist, specialising in communications and mobilisation. Hayley has been a consultant, a union organiser, and a senior advisor to leader of the Australian Greens Richard Di Natale. She spent several years in the USA in campaign roles for global LGBT organisation, All Out, followed by campaign finance reform organisation RepresentUs.

Michael Honey. Michael is the founder of Icelab, a digital design studio with a focus on cultural, literary and environmental projects. He has a background in copywriting, creative direction and theatrical and television production, and has written and spoken on the future of work. Michael has degrees in philosophy and his political interests are focused around degrowth, energy, and climate change.

Founding director (retired)

Margaret Blakers, Canberra. Experienced organiser, researcher and environmental activist. Margaret organised the first Atlas of Australian Birds, co-founded the Victorian Greens, organised the first Global Greens conference, and was formerly adviser to Senator Bob Brown. She is also Convener of the Global Greens, the network of the world’s Green parties and political movements.

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Contact details >

Email:  office@greeninstitute.org.au
Post:   GPO Box 557, Canberra, ACT 2601
Street:  2/97 Northbourne Avenue, Turner, ACT, 2602
ABN: 86 133 831 197

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