Our network is built on the deeply-rooted community knowledge of our members and the local expertise of our regional communities. Operating from a place of connectivity and trust, we are able to exchange the cross-border knowledge and tools needed to create a truly global movement that puts an end to waste pollution.

GAIA’s mission is to catalyze a global shift towards environmental justice by strengthening grassroots social movements that advance solutions to waste and pollution. We envision a just, zero waste world built on respect for ecological limits and community rights, where people are free from the burden of toxic pollution, and resources are sustainably conserved, not burned or dumped.

Equity Through Distributed Leadership

GAIA’s leadership and organizational structure are designed to facilitate building movement power and capacity, support work driven by the needs of our grassroots membership, and advance strategic cross-border campaigns and movement building. Our trans-local organizing model respects place-based leadership, fosters solidarity, and identifies points of common cause.

Our leadership model directly reflects our work on the ground, with transparency, accountability, and horizontal alignment being our main motivators. GAIA’s diverse leadership team implements a distributed leadership model across our organization representing our five regions of work (Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America & the Caribbean, United States & Canada). 

This distributed leadership model creates the foundations of how we view our work and the impact that we want to make in the world. It ensures equitable participation and representation across regions, redistribution of power and resources, and bottom-up decision-making processes. This approach acknowledges the power of collective action and the importance of critical thinking in the path of organizational transformation. Organizational decisions will always have an impact on GAIA’s work in different regions, and it is indispensable that those perspectives and voices are part of our decision-making process.

Our Work

GAIA aims to power a transition away from our current linear and extractive economy and towards a circular system that supports people’s right to a safe and healthy environment. This entails fighting pollution and building regenerative solutions in cities through local campaigns, shifts in policy and finance, research and communication initiatives, and movement building. We work on four primary points of intervention: incineration, zero waste, plastic, and climate.


Our network’s track record of success demonstrates the power of grassroots solutions to protect our planet and advance the rights and wellbeing of all communities—especially those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of pollution and exploitation.

GAIA members are practitioners of resilience

We are committed to being a global network with locally-based staff working in their regions. If you are a practitioner of resilience, we want you onboard, wherever you are!

GAIA’s work is firmly rooted in community needs. If you have any questions or requests, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.