Interspecies: Sustainability
for a Multispecies World

INTERSPECIES aims to advance the interests of animals and nature in the policy and public discourse.


supports individuals, communities and organisations to integrate the protection of the interests of animals and nature into their life and work, into their sustainability practices, programs and policies,

provides a bridge between the great scholarly progress that has already been made for animals, our real life experiences, and the policy development space.

INTERSPECIES builds on the notion of interspecies sustainability as an organising and analytical tool.

This is a long-standing vision of sustainability that inherently means the protection and flourishing of animals, nature, and ultimately all of us.

Through the lens of interspecies sustainability, it comes apparent that all our socio-cultural, technological, political and governing systems, including the physical infrastructures we create, impact animals.

These systems need to be designed in a way that they enable, enhance and sustain the flourishing of

Ecological integrity
Animal cultures
Inter- and Intra-species relationality and communities
Animal self-determination
Animal agency
Animal integrity
Multispecies justice
Animal and nature political representation

Centreing animals and nature in policy and strategy opens doors for transformation to true sustainability. At the same time, there are existing opportunities and initiatives – sustainability programs and policies – that can be drawn on, extended and refocused for real animal and nature protection.

Applying sustainability as an interspecies notion means resisting the cooption of the idea of sustainability by forces that lead to species extinction, animal exploitation and nature pollution and destruction.

Many layers need to be unpacked for the transformation to interspecies sustainability:

Interspecies sustainability transcends the constraints of currently dominant development models.

Sustainability and sustainable development are conceptually and philosophically distinct notions.

Animal protection and flourishing go beyond the notion of animal welfare.

Interspecies sustainability is closely related to Traditional Owners Caring for Country, and the view of animals and plants as kin.

Animals are entering the intergovernmental arena.

In 2022, for the first time, animal welfare is recognised as a significant factor within the broader environmental and sustainable development context: On 2 March, the UN Environment Assembly of UNEP has adopted the “Draft resolution on the animal welfare–environment– sustainable development nexus”.

While we need to move beyond the concepts of sustainable development and animal welfare, we acknowledge that many animal advocates see this development as a watershed moment for animal protection globally.

The task now is twofold:

Sustainability needs to be advanced as an interspecies notion to ensure that the protection of animals and nature becomes integral to all spheres of the sustainability transformation. At the same time, the interests of animals and nature need to be brought to the fore and their representation facilitated to shape this transformation. Our focus needs to be dedicated to this task, locally and globally.

I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and pay respect to their Elders, past and present. I also pay respect to their cultural and spiritual relationships with animal kin, plants and landscapes. I reside and work on the traditional lands of the Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation.

© Iris M Bergmann 2022 – Updated 18 October 2022