Liza Ireland

Associate faculty

Environment & Sustainability

Education for sustainability

Place-responsive, experiential education

Curriculum design

Liza Ireland is an associate faculty member in the School of Environment and Sustainability. She was acting program head of the MA in Environmental Education and Communication from 2012-2014. With a PhD in education for sustainability, her focus is on developing systems thinking in education and a regenerative sustainability perspective that incorporates social, economic and environmental imperatives.

Her research focuses on worldviews and influential conceptual metaphors, and how these influence communication and educational efforts to develop a sustainable society. Dr. Ireland currently teaches sustainability, environmental education and environmental communication courses for the MAEEC and MEP programs, online and in residence, as well as thesis and MRP supervision at RRU.

She taught sustainability courses in China for RRU and concurrently teaches curriculum design for the MEd in Sustainability, Innovation and Creativity for Cape Breton University.


After lecturing in education for sustainability at the University of New Brunswick, in Kazakhstan and at the Teacher Training College in Bhutan, she founded The Green School, an independent elementary school based on sustainability and systemic thinking in Scotland.

Ireland is the director of Changing Climates Educational Society and, as a consultant, has given workshops to teachers in school districts in BC and at United Nations Children and Youth Conferences on the Environment in Norway, South Korea, Japan and Indonesia.

In 2009, she was the keynote speaker at the World Changing Careers symposium on redesigning education for a sustainable future. She developed an environmental education framework with the Alberta Council of Environmental Educators to support the development of social, cultural, global and environmental responsibility for the Alberta K-12 curriculum.

In 2016 she presented how to redesign education for the Gross National Happiness Conference in Bhutan and in 2020 Ireland developed energy education curricula for Ghana’s new K-12 curriculum.

Memberships and Committees

BC College of Teachers


PhD in Education for Sustainability

University of Stirling, Scotland

MEd in Curriculum and Instruction and Environmental Education

University of New Brunswick

BEd in Elementary Education

University of New Brunswick

Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Geography

University of Waterloo


Kelly Outstanding Teaching Award

Royal Roads University


Research interest

Curriculum design for sustainability

Recognizing influential root metaphors

Experiential, place-responsive education


Ireland, L. (2022). Chapter 3, Recognizing and Addressing Influential Root Metaphors: The Key to Reorienting Teaching and Teacher Education in the Anthropocene in Lam, A.J.F.C.S. M. (Eds.). Teaching in the Anthropocene: Education in the Face of Environmental Crisis. CSP Books Inc..

Ireland, L. (2013). Environmental Education Framework: Pathways to Environmental Literacy in Alberta Schools, Supporting Alberta Education’s Curriculum Redesign. Alberta Council or Environmental Education.

Garmulewicz, A., Ireland, L. (2010). “The Canadian Youth Climate Change Conference (YC3) as a model for effective youth adult and youth engagement in promoting environmental and social justice” in Linds, W., Goulet, L and Sammel, A (Eds.) Emancipatory Practices: Adult/Youth Engagement for Social and Environmental Justice. Boston: Sense Publishing.

Webster, K., Ireland, L., Johnson, C. (2008). Sense & Sustainability: Educating for a Low Carbon World, TerraPreta, UK.

Ireland, L. (2007). Educating For the 21st Century: Advancing An Ecologically Sustainable Society, University of Stirling, Scotland.

Presentation: 2016 Presented a 2016 DIF Talk for The Ellen McArthur Foundation on the Future of School

Presentation: 2016 13th PASCAL International Observatory Conference, Learning Cities 2040: Global, Local, Connected, Sustainable, Healthy, Resilient. Glasgow, UK. Paper presentation: “Salt Spring Island as a Learning Community

Presentation: 2015 International Conference on Gross National Happiness: From GNH Philosophy to Praxis and Policy, Paro, Bhutan. Presentation: “Rethinking Education for Gross National Happiness and a Sustainable Future


Presentation: 2015 12th PASCAL International Observatory Conference, Sicily. Paper presentation: “Re-visioning education to empower healthier citizens, to develop healthier cities".

Presentation: 2015 Earth Matters EECOM Conference, Canmore AB. “Backcasting to a Sustainable Future in Energy” and “Metaphors We Live By: Developing a Sustainability Perspective through Energy Education”.

Presentation: 2013 EECOM Conference, Victoria BC. “Developing systems thinking and sustainability through metaphors”. 2012 Keynote address and workshops on “Education, Systems Thinking & Sustainability”. Council of Canadians Regional Conference, Hornby Island, BC

Presentation: 2011 Indonesia, 2009 S. Korea, 2007 Norway. United Nations Children and Youth Conferences on the Environment: Teacher education workshops on “Systems thinking, sustainability & youth empowerment”.

Presentation: 2009 Keynote education address and workshops at World Changing Careers symposium, Vancouver, Canada.

Presentation: 2009 Teacher Education workshops at the World Congress on Environmental Education, Montreal, Canada.

Presentation: 2005 Education Keynote at the Canadian Youth Climate Change Conference (YC3), Victoria Canada.