A message from our CEO David Morris about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve rapidly and our response is too. I wanted to write now and let you know the key steps we are taking to respond to the pandemic and what you can expect from the Environmental Defenders Office over at least the next 30 days.

The steps we are taking – outlined below – are both about protecting our staff, clients and supporters, but also reflect our collective determination to do everything we can to play a part in mitigating the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic.

From tomorrow, Tuesday 17 March, our operations will be undertaken remotely and online. All of our outreach workshops, seminars and other educational programs that can be reformatted and offered as online webinars will be. Those that cannot be will be postponed. Likewise our supporter events at this important time of year will be run in a virtual environment.

Our physical offices will be closed from tonight but people will still be able to access the EDO by phone, email and our website. This obviously has ramifications for our wonderful volunteers. We will be communication with them today.

We will be reviewing these measures on an ongoing basis to determine whether they remain an appropriate response.

As an organisation deeply connected to the roots of the communities we serve, and with our particular focus on assisting the vulnerable, this is anything but business as usual. But these are not usual circumstances and we all have an important role to play in reducing the impact of the Coronavirus.

As you know we have recently undergone a substantial merger. The benefits of that throughout this difficult period can’t be understated. We have spent the past 6 months or more working as a national distributed team, so we know what it takes to work effectively in a remote and distributed environment. We are committed to continued delivery of our high-quality services. Our new national team has the ability to move nimbly diverting resources to where they are needed giving us great ability to respond to the needs of the community and our clients.

Put simply, our clients, the courts and the broader community can expect the EDO to maintain a high level of business continuity during this disruptive period.

People have observed in conversation with me recently that the COVID-19 crisis occurs in the context of two others, both of which we will continue to face long after the threat of COVID-19 has past. The climate and extinction crises continue to require an urgent response. We are confident in our ability to continue working to deliver transformative legal solutions to these critical issues and our ability to continue empowering communities who want to use the law to protect the environment.

The next period will be incredibly difficult, but I draw strength from all of you, and the peoples of this country, and our commitment to each other and the land. Together we will not only stand up to the challenge of Covid-19 but also the climate and extinction crises.