Still trying to find out whether the notion of sustainability can be redeemed to mean animal flourishing…

I am researching the uses and abuses of the concept of sustainability, in theory and practice, with regard to its intention to include the protection and flourishing of animals, and to facilitate animal agency and self-determination. Unfortunately, the dominant sustainability discourse has excluded animals as subjects and bearers of interests in their own rights. For a truly sustainable future for life on this planet, this has to change.

My background is in capacity building for sustainability. So my work also always considers the question of how do we build individual and societal capacity for a truly sustainable future, that is a future in which animals, nature and humans flourish, bearing in mind that we are all interconnected and part of nature.

My “official” entry into animal studies began with the award of the Factory Farming Grant by Voiceless the animal protection institute, to research attitudes towards industrial animal agriculture in Australia. I was then Research Fellow at RMIT University. Between 2013 and 2021, I have been based at the University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, School of Geosciences. I developed a notion of interspecies sustainability and used it as a framework to analyse an animal using industry, that is thoroughbred racing. I am now working as independent scholar, advisor and educator to advance the notion of Interspecies Sustainability within the context of the transformation to sustainability.

Iris M. Bergmann

  • PhD (Sustainability and Animal Studies | Geography), The University of Sydney
  • PhD (Environmental Education and Cognition), Southern Cross University
  • DipEd, Scientific Institute for School Practice, Bremen
  • BEd, University of Bremen

Member of

Image: Award of the Voiceless Factory Farming Grant 2008, with Ondine Sherman and the late Brian Sherman, and Hugo Weaving (left, then Ambassador for Voiceless)
Voiceless the animal protection institute Grants Badge 2008

Updated 12.1.2024