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Author, ‘Environmental Melancholia’



Having pioneered the bridging of psychological research and sustainability for more 20 years, Renee Lertzman, PhD, marries the worlds of academia and practice.  She is an internationally recognized thought leader and adviser, and works with organizations, professionals, and practitioners from government, business, philanthropic, and non-governmental sectors to design research tools, brand strategy, trainings, workshops, engagement practices, and strategies suited for the uniquely challenging nature of environmental work.


Lertzman translates complex psychological and social science research insights into tools for organizations around the world seeking to engage, mobilize and connect with diverse populations, communities and individuals.  Her approach brings together behavioral sciences, social sciences and innovative design sciences to create a powerful approach to engagement and social change.


Lertzman also is regularly commissioned to teach, present and produce research for a range of institutions, including WORLD WILDLIFE FUND, the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST), National Center for Atmospheric Research, NOAA, Climate Solutions, Sustainable Path Foundation, Columbia University, Portland State University, Center for Sustainable Energy, SKOLL GLOBAL THREATS FUND, Radboud University (NL), LANZHOU UNIVERSITY (China), ROYAL ROADS UNIVERSITY (British Columbia), Oxford University’s UK Energy Research Centre, and the University College London’s Climate Sciences Communications Policy Commission.


Also an experienced journalist, since publishing her first interview in 1997 with Ira Glass in The Sun Magazine (and numerous others as a prolific interviewer), she has written extensively about how intersections of psychology, environment, and culture illuminate change work.  Her writings have appeared in a diverse set of publications including The Sun Magazine, Pacific Standard, Orion Magazine, The Ecologist, Climate Access, DeSmog Blog, Sustainable Brands, and Sightline.


Lertzman’s work has been featured in The Guardian, THE NEW YORK TIMES, Time, Washington Post, the Hollywood Reporter, Vice, DeSmog Blog,, Huffington Post, The Correspondent (NL), Down to Earth (NL), ClimateAccess, Warm Regards (podcast), Cambridge TV (UK), Climate One at the Commonwealth Club, Climate Confidential, Oregon Public Radio, and the BBC.


Dr. Lertzman earned her PhD from the Cardiff School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, UK.  She developed and taught the first course on the Psychology of Environmental Education and Communications for the MA program at Royal Roads University from 2011-2016, and has supervised over a dozen graduate students. She has also designed and taught courses on the psychology of climate change and environment since 2001, and has convened symposiums internationally since 2003. Following a post-doctoral position as senior researcher at Portland State University in 2011, she has been a full-time applied researcher and advisor. She is a founding member of the Climate Psychology Alliance.


Lertzman’s first book, Environmental Melancholia: Psychoanalytic Dimensions of Engagement, was published by Routledge in 2015; a trade book will follow.


She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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