Rodrigo Lozano and the vision of a sustainable living environment

Rodrigo Lozano

- All lecturers and students need to ask themselves the question, in what ways can I, in my studies or in my profession, contribute to a sustainable environment? says Rodrigo Lozano, researcher at the University of Gävle.

Sustainability must permeate everything

For the University, the vision of a sustainable human living environment means that sustainable development is integrated in teaching, research and all other activities.

-It must permeate everything and our vision must be shared by everybody at the University. It is about economic, environmental and social sustainability for this generation, the next generation and the next one, Rodrigo Lozano says.

Everybody must join

Rodrigo Lozano’s job is primarily to contribute in making all courses in our master programmes sustainable. It is the combination of the courses that is to contribute to sustainability, not each course separately.

- All lecturers and students need to ask themselves the question, in what ways can I, in my studies or in my profession, contribute to a sustainable environment?

It is not about the word sustainability

Rodrigo has developed a tool to measure sustainability in university curricula, a tool that contains 40 criteria: economic, environmental, social as well as cross-cutting ones.

-We look at the balance between criteria, which is also the strength of the project.One can have many courses which treat the issue on a surface level, or fewer courses which instead treat the issue very deeply.

Here Rodrigo Lozano emphasizes that we must remember that it is not just about looking for the word sustainability. Rather, the point is to look for a combination of words that together builds the context concerning sustainability.

What has theology got to do with sustainability?

On one occasion, when Rodrigo assessed courses at one of the larger universities, he came to theology. What has theology got to do with sustainability?

Many theologians would answer, nothing. But that isn’t true, since we have to consider how different religions can co-exist etcetera.

Assist researchers

Rodrigo Lozano is Editor-in-Chief for The Journal of Cleaner Production, which is an international journal concentrated on environmental and sustainability research with the goal to help societies to become more sustainable. The journal has grown substantially in the last five years.

- We are one of the few journals (3-4 in the whole world) which focus on education for sustainable development, and sustainability issues are growing in importance.

Every day he edits between 20-50 articles, so he knows what works and what doesn’t.

- We want to assist researcher in improving their articles. We reject less than 65%. Nature of Science rejects 90-95%.

Good versus excellent

To Rodrigo, the difference between good and excellent research is that good research contains everything it should, but it has a tendency to exclude certain aspects.

- They just give an account of what they have done. But what does it mean? What is the real significance of this research?

If you are working with sustainability—what does your research contribute to sustainability? What is the great significance of your research? That is the vital difference between a good article and an excellent article.

Rodrigo Lozano

- I have gone from focusing on very technical issues to softer issues. How can we change humans, groups and organisations?

He has been involved in projects focused on how to make whole universities more sustainable and he has assessed more than 10 000 courses all over the world.

Right now, he leads a number of projects, for instance projects in collaboration with UNESCO.

- Sometimes higher learning institutions that didn’t think they were accomplishing anything in this field are positively surprised, when they see that they actually do.

- I want to help spread the word, that the University of Gävle is very good at sustainability. If I look around internationally, very few universities are strong in this field.

Rodrigo has worked in many countries and noticed the similarities in our problems.

- So let’s tackle the problems and think globally—for the environment and for ourselves , so that we can live in peace and respect each other in spite of our differences, Rodrigo Lozano concludes.


For more information, please contact:

Rodrigo Lozano, researcher at University of Gävle
Phone: 073-461 83 56
E-mail: rodrigo.lozano@hig.se


Text: Douglas Öhrbom
Photo: Ove Wall