Our story

In 1991 Earth Trust founders Janette Blainey and John Haigh embarked on a journey to consult with Indigenous Elders, environmental scientists and other leaders concerning the establishment of the Earth Trust (then called the ‘Earth Environmental Tithing Trust’). Accompanied by fellow Director Richard Melnick, they travelled to Dharamsala to visit His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for his guidance and blessing.

In establishing the Earth Trust the founders were committed to renewing the culture of respect for the Earth, its Indigenous peoples and the wisdom of our Elders. The journey to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and meetings with Indigenous Elders was a very early step in this process.

Through the helpful assistance of John Martin, then a partner at the law firm Allens Arthur Robinson, the Earth Trust was established as a not-for-profit organisation. In 2003, the Earth Trust and its Public Fund, The Earth Fund, was entered on the Register of Environmental Organisations, thus giving it Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status.

The organisation was first called the Earth Environmental Tithing Trust as an expression of its commitment to engage private citizens, communities and businesses in a culture of giving. The name was shortened in 2003 to simply, the Earth Trust.

Through the work of Richard Melnick who established The Environmental Trust Inc in the United States, scientists James Lovelock, Amory Lovins, Tom Lovejoy and Christine Padoch all contributed to its work in those early years.

Over many years we have been learning with and from Indigenous peoples. We have been developing strong relationships, building on trust, and looking forward. We are learning about what communities need to ensure that their wisdom is passed on to future generations. We are learning how to listen to the people and to the Earth. We are learning how to walk with respect for the land and the waters. We are learning about what ‘sacred’ truly means when referring to land and waters.

We are doing this because we know that the future of life on Earth does not just depend on science and technology and observations and actions taken from all this body of knowledge. The future of life on planet Earth depends also and very importantly, on walking and working together in harmony with custodial peoples.

The Earth Trust has been continuously working to bring the voices of Indigenous custodial Elders to the environmental discussion and decision-making table.