University of Calgary

Mishka Lysack

  • Professor
  • Advocacy
  • Environmental Issues
  • Social Policy
  • Strategic Planning

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


Dr. Mishka Lysack’s interest in climate and environmental protection, public policy, and political leadership has been a common theme throughout his career as a professor. Presently, he focuses his teaching, research, and community outreach in the areas of climate change and environmental protection, renewable energy, and sustainable economies and communities. He specifically focuses on the intersection of climate and environmental protection with social and economic development. 

Dr. Lysack began his university teaching career in Ottawa at the Department of Social Work at Carleton University as well as on a graduate level in the Faculty of Education at Ottawa University and in the Conflict Studies Program and the Faculty of Human Studies at St. Paul University. 

In 2006, Dr. Lysack began teaching full-time at the University of Calgary, where he is currently an associate professor in the Faculty of Social Work. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Medicine. Since 2008, he has also taught courses at a graduate level in the Faculty of Environmental Design.


Dr. Lysack completed his PhD conjointly in Education and Social Work at McGill University in Montreal. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Dean’s Honour List (top 10% of graduates) at McGill University in 2004. 

In addition, he has also completed a BA Honours at Carleton University as well as two Masters degrees from McGill University and the University of Western Ontario. 

Awards and Distinctions

  • Canada West Foundation selected Dr. Lysack as one of "40 Extraordinary Canadians" for their book: "An Extraordinary West" because of his innovations in environmental education and leadership. 
  • Mount Royal University invited him at an International conference to dialogue with Preston Manning on the question: Is it possible to be a Green Tory? 
  • Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, awarded Feb 1, 2013 
  • Teaching Excellence Teaching Award 2010-2011, University of Calgary, April 2011 
  • Nominated for Sustainability in Curriculum Teaching Award (Runner-up), University of Calgary, 2010 
  • Certificate of Nomination, Instructor Excellence Award, University of Calgary, April 17, 2007 
  • Certificate of Nomination, Supervisor Excellence Award, University of Calgary, April 17, 2007 
  • Dean’s Honour List (top 10% of graduates), McGill University, PhD, 2004 
  • Doctoral Studies Fellowship - Canada Council (now SSHRC), 1978 
  • M. A. Studies Fellowship - Canada Council (now SSHRC), 1977 
  • Senate Medal and Scholarship (awarded to top 3 students in Arts Faculty graduating class at university), Carleton University, 1977 

Current Research Projects

In his research, Dr. Lysack is currently focusing on the best practices in Germany regarding their renewable energy transition (energiewende) and climate protection (klimaschutz), and how those best practices could be translated into the Canadian context of the federal, provincial, and municipal/community levels. He is also focused on research on the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, facilitating social and economic change to address these impacts, and effective public policy and change processes to facilitate this transition. 

Dr. Lysack works in partnership with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to bring leading researchers and sector leaders in renewable energy and climate protection to Canada, to build the capacity of sector leaders to provide effective public leadership. Through a series of SSHRC grants, Dr. Lysack has developed public education and knowledge mobilization methodologies making cutting-edge research available to enable a renewable energy transition (energiewende) and climate protection (klimaschutz).     

Recent Publications:

Selected Refereed Articles

Lysack, M. (2015). Effective policy influencing and environmental advocacy: Health, climate change, and phasing out coal. International Social Work, 58(3). 435-447.

Lysack, M. (2012). The Abolition of Slavery Movement as a Moral Movement: Ethical Resources, Spiritual Roots, and Strategies for Social Change, 31(1-2), 150-171. Special Issue: Spirituality and Social Justice of Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work, Guest Editor: Michael J. Sheridan.

Lysack, M. (2012). Building capacity for environmental engagement and leadership: An ecosocial work perspective. International Journal of Social Welfare, Special Issue on Environmental Social Work, 21, 260-269.

Lysack, M. (2010) Environmental decline, loss, and biophilia: Fostering commitment in environmental citizenship. Critical Social Work 11(3), on-line at

Lysack, M. (2009) The Teach-in on Global Warming Solutions and Vygotsky: Fostering ecological action and environmental citizenship. McGill Journal of Education, 44(1), 119-134.

Lysack, M. (2008). Global warming as a moral issue: Ethics and economics of reducing carbon emissions. Interdisciplinary Environmental Review. 10(1&2), 95-109.


Book Chapters

Lysack, M., Thibault, B., and Powell, G. (2014). Fostering Environmental Citizenship. In R. Boschman & M. Trono (Eds.), Found in Alberta: Environmental Themes for the Anthropocene (pp. 173-193). Wilfred Laurier University Press.

Lysack. M. (2014). Stepping up to the Plate: Climate Change, Faith Communities and Effective Environmental Advocacy. In R. Haluza-Delay, A. Szasz, & R. Globus (Eds.), How the World’s Religions are Responding to Climate Change: Social Scientific Investigations (pp. 157-173). Oxford: Routledge.

Lysack, M. (2013). Emotion, Ethics, and Fostering Committed Environmental Advocacy. In M. Gray, J. Coates, & T. Hetherington (Eds.), Environmental social work, (pp.231-245). Oxford: Routledge.

Lysack, M. (2010). Environmental Decline and Climate Change: Fostering Social and Environmental Justice on a Warming Planet. In R. Furman, and N. Negi, (Eds.), Transnational social work (pp. 52-75). New York: Columbia University Press.

Lysack, M. (2009). From environmental despair to the ecological self: Mindfulness and community action In S. Hick (Ed.), Mindfulness and social work, (pp. 202-218). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Press.

Lysack, M. (2009). Practices and skills for building social and ecological resiliency with individuals and communities. In S. Hick, H. Peters, T. Corner, & T. London (Eds.). Structural social work in action: Examples from practice, (pp. 211-228). Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars Press.


Book Chapters (in press)

Lysack, M. (2016, in press). Building Canada’s Renewable Energy Economy: Best Practices from the German Energiewende. In R. Boschman & M. Trono (Eds.), Under western skies. Wilfred Laurier University Press.

Lysack, M. (2016, in press). Sustainable Economy and Value Creation: Environmental Ethics and the Conservative Tradition. In R. Boschman & M. Trono (Eds.), Under western skies. Wilfred Laurier University Press.

Lysack, M. (2016; in press). Principles for Decarbonizing Economy and Society: Ethical Principles and Climate Change. Routledge Handbook of Religion, Spirituality and Social Work; Beth Crisp (Ed). London/New York: Routledge.

Lysack, M. (2016, in press). Fostering Effective Climate Change and Environment Policy: Capacity Building and Policy Influencing as Community Practice. In Sarah T. & S Savard (Eds.). Innovative Community Practice. 

Lysack, M. (2016, in press). From Dialogue to Climate and Environmental Advocacy: Building Capacity for Effective Policy as Zones of Proximal Development. In C. Ricci & R. Zak (Eds.) Alternative Approaches to Writing Dissertations. 



Lysack, M. & Munn-Venn, K., Eds. (2013). Living ecological justice. Citizens for Public Justice.  ISBN: 978-0-9686695-2-5.


Articles in Non-Refereed Journals

Lysack, M. (2015). The ethical imperative of limits. Policy Options, January-February 2015, pp, 23-26.

Lysack, M. (2009). Defending and protecting what we love: Biophilia and creating environmental citizenship. Wild Lands Advocate, 17(3), 14-16.

Lysack, M. (2009). Doing Social Work on a Traumatized Planet: Fostering Environmental Health, Sustainability, and Community Action. The Advocate, 34(1), 24-25.

Lysack, M. (2008). “Now is our Last Chance to Get the Future Right”: Social Work & Building Environmentally Durable Communities. OASW Bulletin: Eastern Branch. 

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