WOMADelaide Festival: The Future of Activism

Bob Brown, Elaine Johnson, Roj Amedi
Frome Park Pavilion

The Planet Talks Saturday program is proudly presented by The Australia Institute

With protest laws tightening, misinformation campaigns on the rise, and the media landscape changing, what is the future of social and environmental activism? A discussion to explore the myriad ways there are to fight for change, whether it’s in the courtroom, at shareholder AGMs, in online communities or through targeted political and media stunts.


  • Bob Brown – Bob Brown’s credo is ‘one person, one vote, one value, one planet’. In 1976 Bob hosted the first meeting of the (Australian) Wilderness Society at his home beside the Liffey River in Tasmania. In 1990 friends helped him set up Bush Heritage Australia which now protects one million hectares of high-conservation lands across Australia. Bob was in the Tasmanian Parliament from 1983 to 1993. He led the five Greens in the balance of power after 1989 when the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area was doubled in size.. Besides being jailed for 17 days during the Franklin River blockade in 1982, Bob was locked up for 11 days, and strip-searched five times in 1995 for joining a blockade of bulldozers invading the Tarkine wilderness. He has been shot at, beaten up and vilified by vigilantes.  Bob’s books include Lake Pedder (1984), Tarkine Trails (1993), Memo for a Saner World (2003), Earth (2009), Optimism (2014) and THERA (2023). In 2022 Bob and Paul took part in The Giants, a feature film about forests. The Bob Brown Foundation, set up after Bob left the Senate in 2012, is a vigorous national environmental group which takes peaceful direct action to stop environmental vandalism. Its flagship campaigns are to protect Tasmania’s Takayna rainforest and to end native forest logging nationwide. BBF is working to end fish farm feedlots in the seas and to protect Antarctica, its krill and marine ecosystems.
  • Elaine Johnson – Elaine Johnson is a renowned public interest environmental lawyer and world leader in climate litigation. As Director of Legal Strategy at the Environmental Defenders Office, Elaine led a multi-disciplinary team that spearheaded legal interventions with global implications for climate policy and litigation. Notably, Elaine represented Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action against the NSW Environment Protection Authority, leading to the development of a climate change policy to regulate greenhouse gas pollutants. Elaine was also Solicitor on record in the landmark Rocky Hill coal mine case, resulting in refusal of the greenfield mine and a changed landscape on climate law in Australia.
  • Roj Amedi – Roj Amedi is a campaigner and organiser focussing on grassroots, community-led, and distributed campaigns. She is the Chair of the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival and serves on the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women steering committee. Roj is Kurdish and a former refugee from Iraq, which has influenced her commitment to racial and economic justice. She has previously served as Chair of Overland Literary Magazine and held senior advocacy positions at GetUp, Foundation for Young Australians, Justice Connect and Colour Code.


  • Noah Schultz-Byard – Noah Schultz-Byard is a communications professional and former ABC reporter who now leads The Australia Institute’s presence in South Australia. His work has a particular focus on issues relating to economic inequality, environmental sustainability, and climate change.  He has previously worked in the Federal Senate and as a communications consultant for a range of organisations, combining evidence-based research with engaging storytelling. Originally hailing from Adelaide, he aims for his work to help improve the standard of public conversation around policy issues, both in South Australia and across the nation.

The Planet Talks is a three-day ecological and conversational forum held at the Frome Park Pavilion, featuring some of the world’s foremost thinkers, activists, scientists and leaders in engaging and thought-provoking discussions about issues and solutions that affect our lives on the blue planet.

The Planet Talks is generously supported by Claire Pfister and David Paradice.

Saturday 9th March of The Planet Talks is presented by The Australia Institute


(ended on )


Frome Park Pavilion




Looking for speakers for your next event?

Our experts