University of Calgary

David Lertzman

  • Senior Instructor
  • Co-Director - HAL
  • Faculty [BSEN]
  • International Resource Industries and Sustainability Centre (IRIS)


International Institute for Resource Industries and Sustainability Studies (IRIS)


Dr. David Lertzman is Assistant Professor of Environmental Management and Sustainable Development at the Haskayne School of Business, and Senior Associate with the International Resource Industries and Sustainability Centre. His work with indigenous peoples for over 20 years puts him at the forefront of efforts to bridge traditional ecological knowledge and Western science in sustainable development. David’s passion for ecology and culture has brought him to indigenous communities throughout the Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains, Great Plains, Eastern Woodlands, Boreal Forest, Mexico and the Amazon.

Dr. Lerztman’s research program, the Energy Indigenous Environment Interface, is funded by the Canada School for Energy and Environment through the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment, and Economy (ISEEE) at the University of Calgary and by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). His current research cases are with the Achuar people of the Ecuadorian Amazon and Cree people of Alberta’s northern Boreal forest. Indigenous peoples in both cases depend upon healthy, large-scale forest ecosystems for their way of life. Both regions are also rich with petroleum under pressure from external forces intent on developing those resources. Seeking to understand these dynamics will hopefully indicate tools and best practices to improve the ecological, social and cross-cultural performance of both industries and communities. Download a snapshot of the research here.

Dr. Lertzman teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on leadership and sustainable development with indigenous peoples. His innovative courses have been recognized in numerous magazines including Corporate Knights, Canadian Business, BizEd, and Alberta Oil. His Wilderness Retreat courses in Kananasksis are one-week intensives cultivating leadership for corporate responsibility in sustainable development. Students are challenged to deepen their reflective capacity and transformational leadership potential through experiential outdoor activities, group dynamics and strategic self-reflection with a 24-hour wilderness solo and the support of resident Native elders. His new Applied Leadership initiative partners MBA mentors with teams of senior Undergraduates to work on projects in service to organizations from the not-for-profit and social venture sectors. Learn more about the Wilderness Retreat here.

Dr. Lertzman holds a PhD in Ecological Sustainability and Community Development from the University of British Columbia, and is a Research Associate of the Arctic Institute of North America. He is a recipient of the prestigious Reverend Dr. Chief John Snow Sr. Award for academic achievement in research and teaching service dedicated to Aboriginal peoples, the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence, and the Dean’s Research Publication Award. David worked for many years with Aboriginal youth in wilderness experience and cultural Rediscovery programs. He is a consultant, cross-cultural facilitator, community development practitioner, and multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter.

Selected Publications

Powered by UNITIS. More features.