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Dr Iris Bergmann for Macedon

Iris came to Australia from Germany more than 30 years ago. As a seafarer’s daughter, she felt a deep connection with the vastness of this country and the oceans surrounding it. She felt the potential for peace with nature, with the space all around for animals.

With a background in education, publishing and graphic design, Iris also volunteered for many years as a wildlife rescuer and carer. She proudly became the inaugural chairperson of the newly formed Northern Rivers branch of WIRES (Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service). As a qualified teacher, she went back to university to undertake PhD research in environmental education.

Iris then moved to Melbourne and later into the Macedon Ranges. She worked as a university researcher in capacity-building, community outreach, and policy for sustainability. Her work took her to many places in Maldives, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and throughout Australia. Iris witnessed the injustices inflicted upon people, nature and animals in countries and places that suffer disproportionately from climate, environmental, economic and social injustices. Iris came to learn that the ideas of sustainability and sustainable development unfortunately do not necessarily mean animal and nature protection.

As she gained a deeper understanding of the nature and depth of animal exploitation, Iris became vegan. She then seized an opportunity to undertake further PhD research to find out what it would take in theory, policy and practice, to implement sustainability as an interspecies notion - that is, a vision that inherently means the protection and flourishing of animals, nature, and ultimately, all of us.

Our knowledge of animals and of human-animal relations has increased exponentially. Yet, the interests of animals are underrepresented in our day-to-day lives, in the ways we interact with animals and nature, and in the ways we design our roads, cities, infrastructures and economies. Iris sees many opportunities to support local communities in their quest to improve how animals and nature fare - for true sustainability for all.

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Email: [email protected]

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