Human activity is at the origin of dysfunctions of the "Earth system": that is a conclusion now admitted by the world scientific community. We live in a complex system that our activity manages to unbalance causing pollution, climate change, loss of biodiversity, ocean acidification, etc. The transgression of the boundaries of the biosphere (according to a notion theorized by J. Rockström et al, 2009) has consequences that are irreversible and threaten our very existence. Our societies must quickly find solutions to reduce their long-term impacts and make the transition to more sustainable lifestyles.
In this context, academic research institutions have the duty to work to better understand these boundaries and to promote the emergence of sustainable lifestyles for individuals, communities and the biosphere.
For a few years now, the University of Lausanne has tackled the issue of sustainability. The Management wishes to continue the efforts and further broaden the participation of the larger university community to make UNIL a pioneer in terms of sustainability (see Objective 3.1 of the 2017-2021 Intentions Plan).
By educating citizens who are responsible, aware of the consequences of their actions, including the social and ethical issues of sustainability and able to move in an uncertain world, by constituting a crossroad of research and reflection on these themes and by making its campus a living laboratory of sustainability, the UNIL believes to play its role in the response to the immense challenge of the ecological transition.
Excerpts of the plan of intentions UNIL 2017-2021
Vice-recteur Durabilité et Campus
Sustainability: "[...] Natural resources are inherently limited and their dramatic reduction makes the limits for our development.The challenge is therefore to integrate sustainability in the functioning of our society, in order to ensure a sufficient and shared level of prosperity, while making a significant reduction on the impact of human activities on the biosphere. (Plan of intentions UNIL 2017-2021 p.7)
"[...] [The UNIL] has the ambition to support its social environment towards more sustainable models and to position itself as a leader in reflection, teaching and research on related issues. The emergence of a society and ways of life respecting the limits of the biosphere requires the contribution of all scientific fields. Under this approach, the natural and technical sciences will contribute to a better understanding of boundaries and a more efficient use of resources, while the humanities will contribute to the understanding of societal and economic mechanisms and the development of new models in these areas». (Plan of intentions UNIL 2017-2021 p.10)