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Michelle Maloney asks how do we nurture the conditions for humans to care about the more than human world?

Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly aware of and inspired by a being known as Michelle Maloney. Over and over, some of the most interesting areas that were drawing my attention and curiosity, I found Michelle immersed in the heart of them in Australia and beyond. Regenerative initiatives, centring Aboriginal ways of knowing, doing and being, new pathways to economic progress, ways of organising ourselves, our communities and societies in ways that respect and revere nature – Michelle not only shows up, she convenes some of the most meaningful spaces that attract both the well intentioned and those who are forging ahead in these emergent modes.

I am thus deeply honoured to be sharing here the first conversation with Michelle, exploring some of her journey as well as the core themes that occupy her endeavours to transform education, the law, economic systems and structures of governance more broadly. Yes, this is a deep conversation, and an expansive one, and we knowingly offer more questions than we seek to answer in a single conversation.

I hope our conversation invites you to explore more deeply many of the themes we cover, and hopefully to connect directly with Michelle and join in any or all of the hubs and groups she invites to gather. Both Michelle and I welcome your thoughts and reflections via the connection links below if you’d like to reach out.

Here’s a review of the key messages from this episode, based on elements of the dialogue;

Nurturing conditions for ecological society

  • If you have a society that understands where it lives, creates and recreates Earth-centred norms; and each generation shares with the next, you have the nurturing conditions for an ecological society
  • To nurture conditions for humans to care deeply about the living world, we have to change the way humans think about their place in the world
  • How do we understand the psyche of humans who don’t value nature? How do we respect societies who do? How do we transform ourselves into a culture that is admirable & sustainable, that thinks to the future and understands our humble place in the big picture?
  • Decolonising our minds & hearts is about understanding our history as a species, and as people living in this continent; it’s also about challenging modernity the ideas we’ve absorbed about progress

Connecting to nature

  • I’m hugely inspired by any culture that remains connected to our bio-physical reality
  • Where we live matters. What we do in a place matters.
  • The colonial project here is younger than in other places, we still have the potential to heal and restore; we still have so much wonder & beauty remaining in the natural world
  • It’s about rethinking what we love & getting more time with who and what we love. More connection, more time to play & be with those we love.
  • How do we find a new way forward for our societies by reconnecting with nature?

Governance systems

  • By governance, I refer to the way we come together; the way we live, work and play together; the norms, laws and practices of our society
  • I’m interested in how we change the systems of decision-making, power & resource allocation, with a focus on law, education, economics and the broader role of culture
  • How do we change the economy so it supports the society we want?
  • Earth Jurisprudence (or Earth Laws) critiques the big underpinning structures of industrialised societies, asks where they came from and why they are the way they are, analyses the harm they cause and asks us to be creative in our responses
  • If you look at the world through the lens of modern western law; if you  see only what the law sees, all you see is people, and the entities people make like corporations. The rest is considered human property.
  • The last things Westerners notice are our own systems & cultures.
  • Older cultures that have a deep connection to living in place really have a different way of looking at the world
  • Everyone can have access to systems which nurture people & planet

Find out more about Michelle and her work here:

LinkedIn profile –

Australian Earth Laws Alliance –

New Economy Network Australia –

As an alumni of this course, I highly recommend you check out the next intake for 2023 –

Follow Tim and join the Better World Leaders community via the links below:

youtube @timcollings