Rafael Cavalcanti Lembi

Rafael Cavalcanti Lembi

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CSUS - Transformations, energy justice, community engagement
Department of Community Sustainability


Home Country: Brazil

Advisor: Maria Claudi Lopez

I am a biologist (BSc and teaching degree) and ecologist (MSc) graduated by the University of Campinas, Brazil. Prior to coming to MSU, I developed research on ecosystem services and human well-being in peri-urban areas of Brazil. I have experience in assessing the status and trends of ecosystem services through participatory scenario planning and the identification of feedbacks loops.

At MSU, I have participated in the development and implementation of a participatory scenario planning process for the “Flint Leverage Points Project” to co-develop actionable pathways towards desirable futures for the Flint urban food system by 2042 (https://www.canr.msu.edu/flintfood/). I am also a part of the project “Convergence for Innovative Solutions”, in which I am examining the operationalization of community engagement of an electrification project in the Amazon that is being conducted as a part of this project (https://www.communitypowered.info/). 

Rafael's Graduate Work:

In 2021, I joined the PhD program in Community Sustainability at MSU as a Fulbright fellow. Broadly, I am interested in the fields of transformations and environmental justice in order to understand the theory and practice of how to achieve positive change towards sustainability. For my PhD research, I am investigating pathways towards universal access to electricity for isolated, off-grid communities in the Brazilian Amazon. I am interested in assessing the ways in which electrification projects and policies can empirically advance energy justice and energy sovereignty and improve quality of life of off-grid communities. I am also investigating the equity dimensions of electrification projects, focusing on the operationalization of community engagement and the gender-differentiated dimensions of access to electricity. Participatory methods and community engagement are at the basis of my work, and I seek to co-construct scientific knowledge that can be useful for the local communities and practitioners that are my partners in research. I am also passionate about education and have diverse teaching experiences. Outside academia, I enjoy gardening, traveling, biking, learning new languages and spending time with my friends.

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