She studied at the University of Cambridge, and has a Doctor of Philosophy in environmental politics from the University of Tasmania.
She was previously a public lawyer, then a lecturer at Monash University until 2001 when she moved to the University of Melbourne. Eckersley"s arguments are largely conducted in the domain of political theory, but have proven influential in environmental politics. Her 1992 book was one of the first to argue for an ecocentric form of government.
In her 2004 book: Rethinking Democracy and Sovereignty, Eckersley proposes "critical political ecology" as a paradigm to explore what it might take to create a green state or green democratic state, a government where the regulatory ideals and democratic procedures of the democratic state are informed by ecological democracy.
The sovereign state is recast in the role of ecological steward and facilitator of transnational democracy. The green democratic state is proposed as an evolutionary alternative to the liberal democratic state, the welfare state, and the neoliberal state.