Alumni reflections and updates - 2006

Past students of the MSLS programme talk about what they are doing now and offer some thoughts on what they learnt at BTH...


Birte Berlemann (Germany): "Being in Sweden with people from all over the world opened me more to the idea of living abroad.  So following the MSLS programme I went to London for an internship with Forum for the Future, where I continued to build a network for sustainability experts, who want to support the sustainability aspects of the Olympic Games in London in 2012.  It was very exciting to find lots of positive energy around sustainability among these people.  I will draw on this energy and the experiences I made, now that I'm back at my "home" university in Germany, writing my master's thesis in Environmental Management."

Renaud Richard (France): "'Step by step towards what I enjoy doing', that's probably how I'd describe the last few years. In 2000, I discovered sustainability and The Natural Step (TNS) and its logical and efficient approach to bring businesses (and other organizations) faster towards sustainability. I learnt much more about this and many other things in Karlskrona in 2004/2005, and in the meantime got voluntarily involved in the launch of TNS France. Since the first day back in France after Sweden, I've been working on the development of TNS France. After less than a year back here, we're now two full time people, we've given around 100 hours of lectures to students, conducted a sustainability analysis for a 500 person SME, and I'm helping Interface launch a carpet tiles take-back service in several european countries !!! I've closed the loop since Interface's case study was one of the main reasons in my decision to walk this way ;-)"

Kristoffer Lundholm (Sweden): "Since the MSLS programme I have undertaken a master's degree in Design at the Gothenburg School of Design and Crafts. At the school I am focussing on incorporating sustainability principles and sustainability thinking into the design process. During this last semester I have, among other things, made an eight minute animated movie about the life cycle of a cola can, designed public litter bins for the city of Gothenburg, and held numerous lectures. Right now I'm planning a course in designing for sustainability with professor Kristina Sahlqvist. Together we're are aiming to involve more students and staff to hopefully reach a tipping point at which the University will commit to sustianbility on a broader scale."
Ron 2005 Ron Durgin (United States): "For the first time in my life I work with an organization that is value driven rather than profit driven and it is fantastic.  The MSLS program taught me the fundamentals of sustainability, the business case for sustainable development, and strategies for working with decision-makers once they buy-in to sustainability.  Greenpeace is teaching me how grassroots pressure and non-violent direct action can motivate business and government entities to take responsibility for social and environmental injustices.  At the moment I am helping to create a self-sustaining office in Los Angeles, California by raising funds, as some of you know it's always a great day for a cookie.  Once we have achieved a consistent fundraising model I will help establish a campaign office in LA, hopefully by the end of 2007.  Campaigning provides the opportunity to use our regional/national support and our global presence to move organizations towards sustainability.  When I left Karlskrona in June 2005 the advice given was to dig in wherever I stood, a year later I'm still digging and it feels like I am in the right place at the right time."

Laura MacKay and Mitch Rhodes (Canada): "It has been a year since we left Karlskrona, en route to Stockholm; from there boarding the ferry to Helsinki, train to St. Peterburg, Moscow and Riga and finally catching midnight sun in the old city of Tallinn, before heading back to Sweden and the flight home via London. Since arriving back in Canada, we have incubated a startup business called Treadlight Productions. Biking back and forth from class in Karlskrona there were many conversations about how we could best leverage what we had learned for movement toward sustainability. As a result, and using our backgrounds as amateur videographer/editor (Laura) and CA in the entertainment industry (Mitch), we developed a vision of a new company which will revolutionize the film and television industries. We have since found our burning question, which is "How can we use the tools of science-based sustainability principles, film, television and new media to most effectively move society toward sustainability?" We've merged filmmaking and sustainability consulting into one business approach and are in a prototyping phase until September 2007, learning all we can and exploring our question. So far we've worked with groups in Israel/Palestine, BC First Nations youth, and the Jane Goodall Institute. We are currently working with the BC film industry mapping their road to 'Competitiveness and Sustainability' and we have other projects in development in Rwanda, Israel/Palestine, China, and right here at home in BC."

Kerly 2005 Kerly Acosta (Canada): "Since completing the MSLS programme I started working with British Columbia Institute of Technology as a researcher of environmental applications for green roofs and living walls. The people I work with are awesome, which makes working so fun. I will be climbing roofs in the summer, instrumenting for data collection. And if our funding comes through in the fall I will be helping to design our future research projects. Living in Vancouver is conducive to enjoying the great outdoors in many ways. Skiing in the winter, and just recently I finished  my rowing lessons. Now I think I will try out capoera, and see how that goes.I look forward to the summer as I hope to do some hiking and kayaking"


December 2005

Benny Sindowe (Zambia): "I am now working with the Zambia Electricity Company where I am a Senior Human Resources Officer under the Industrial Relations and Corporate Services Department. In a nutshell, I am responsible for managing employee welfare at a corporate level. The Government has finally launched a rural Electrification Authority and I am positive about working towards a sustainable solution given that my group thesis was based on rural electrification in developing countries."

Jennifer Woofter (United States): "I've had some success with starting my own business, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. Drawing on my previous experience with corporate social responsibility and the Karlskrona program's emphasis on a strategic approach to organizational planning, I've decided to focus my attention on "sustainability through accountability"--a theme I started with my thesis on the connection between sustainability reporting and corporate governance.  Looking back I realize that a real treasure of my year in Sweden was my classmates.  I'm happy to say that I've kept up with many of them, and frequently draw on their advice and expertise.  I'm so glad we're out in the world together!"

Tomomi Takada (Japan): "A year in BTH was a really exciting experience for me, not only learning about sustainability from new perspectives, but also working and exchanging ideas with classmates from all over the world from various backgrounds. Currently, I am engaged at a construction company, which will create the first eco-village in Japan. As I focused my thesis research on "Community Sustainability Entrepreneurs", I'm trying to bring this concept into action at our eco-village, Kobunaki. I am planning and organising seminars for local residents and potential entrepreneurs to strategically move the community towards sustainability!"

Alvaro Pureza (Brazil): "If we observe nature we can see that it has its own 'plan' of changes that has very little to do with our own artificial constructs of time. For instance, the leaves in the trees do not come out just because the 'official' spring has started - all the natural conditions have to be right for that to happen! After Karlskrona I returned to my job here at Promon, a civil engineering firm in Sao Paulo, and soon realised that like in nature, I had to wait for the right conditions to bring sustainability issues into the company's strategic planning - at least with a strategic framework in place I can make a real difference and begin to manage the complexity of the task."

Renee Lazarowich

Renee Lazarowich (Canada): "I am currently with Natural Resources Canada, examining the potential for community energy systems in new residential developments.  I'm enjoying taking a whole systems approach - including financial, technical, environmental, and regulatory aspects - and seeing the innovation that is happening by both businesses and local governments to bring about change.  I'm also lucky to now be working with a fellow MSLTS graduate - it's great to have an ally out in the field and it makes Karlskrona not seem so far away."

Amity Lumper (United States): "I find myself truly missing the time I spent at BTH with such a diverse group of fascinating, creative and articulate individuals there for the same reason I was - to build a better world. I'm currently at a consultancy firm in Seattle, working with the businesses that generate the largest amount of garbage in the City, helping them to reduce and ultimately consider eliminating waste from their operations. In smaller, more personal ways I'm trying to live more sustainably and I've even committed to bicycling through the winter!"

Scott Grierson (Australia): "I guess I'm one of the lucky ones as I haven't left Karlskrona yet! After concluding my Masters thesis I stayed on at the university to work as a Programme Assistant on the MSLS programme. I am currently working towards a multi-national PhD research project that focuses on the sustainable material foundations of the built environment in China and will soon go on a teaching and research exchange with BTH's 'sister' university in Yunnan province Kunming University of Science & Technology."

Syaliza "Siti" Mustapha (Malaysia): "I'm working for the Malaysian Timber Council and was recenty part of the Malaysian delegation to the 39th session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC) in Yokohama, Japan. As part of an advisory group, I have initiated an international discussion which will be held in Mexico in May 2006 on timber market and procurement policies. While I understand the reasons behind procurement policies that (only) favour certified timber from "sustainable" sources, these policies at the same time are killing small industries in developing countries and giving more edge to already rich, multi-national companies - it's a tough line to walk. I'm really looking forward to contributing sustainable, balanced, strategic recommendations to the discussion."

Archie Kasnet (United States): "I have returned to my roots in Boston, Massachusetts, where I now work for a PR firm in the area of strategic communications. I find I am already applying what I learnt during my time in Sweden - several weeks ago I was asked to draft an energy policy for a Senator with presidential aspirations! This is a large task (!), but having come to understand a principled definition of sustainability, I have found myself well-equipped to envision success and propose concrete steps towards building a sustainable economy."


Share Share