Men, masculinities, and the climate and ecological crisis (Online workshop recording)

Diagram showing 'Man' at the top of the ecological pyramid versus a circle showing people in balance with other aspects of the planet's biosystems

This interactive online workshop took place on 1 April 2020. It aimed to discuss, explore and advance understanding and action on the relations between masculinities and the climate crisis.


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Climate change is one of the most urgent global challenges facing the world today, and the coming years will be decisive for the planet’s ecosystems and the quality of life it supports – including people around the world.

We know that the impacts of climate change are already more severe for women, girls and the most marginalized groups. Compounding this, female climate activists are facing the brunt of a misogynistic backlash from some men who feel threatened by the issue.

Meanwhile, research shows that men are more likely to have a more negative impact on the environment compared to other groups, for example through:

  • A less environmentally conscious lifestyle
  • More likely to deny environmental problems and climate threats, or even actively counter people and organizations trying to do something about them.
  • More likely to put short-term economic considerations ahead of ecological sustainability.
  • Likely to have a larger ecological footprint due to greater average incomes compared to other groups (and likely to make less environmentally conscious decisions about how to spend money).
  • Less willing to make behavioral changes for the sake of the climate.

The imminent threat of climate change requires new ways of working. MenEngage Alliance believes it is crucial to understand boys’ and men’s multiple roles in climate change. This understanding must illuminate the ways masculinities – within patriarchal systems – play a contributing role in perpetuating climate change, and how this worrying trend can be transformed at individual, community, and societal levels.

To that end, in 2016, we developed a discussion paper, Men, Masculinities & Climate Change: A Discussion Paper – through a collaboration between MenEngage Alliance, Promundo, MÄN, ANNA-National Center for the Prevention of Violence, and Sonke Gender Justice. The paper left us with questions to be further unpacked and explored – something we hope to continue in this workshop.


About this online workshop

Despite the links, a ‘masculinities lens’ is rarely part of mainstream analyses of the global environmental crisis. Yet, both theoretical framings and practical interventions are being developed.

This includes the recent book Ecological Masculinities, and a new prototype of a practical guide to supporting transformative change through group discussion, Men in the Climate Crisis, developed by MÄN, Sweden in collaboration with Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.

In this workshop, Sue Ann Barratt who will speak to the agenda of ‘feminism, gender and climate justice, and authors of Ecological Masculinities, Martin Hultman and Paul Pulé from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, will be joined by Vidar Vetterfalk, MÄN Sweden to explore the links between the environment and masculinities, and facilitate a discussion on opportunities to transform and disrupt these patterns, and engage men and boys as agents of positive change.

At the same time, this workshop aims to help accelerate a process across our networks to advance collective discussion, understanding, reflection and action on transforming masculinities for the promotion of ways of being men that are caring for both people and the planet.


Further suggested resources

Men, Masculinities and Climate Change

Discussion paper by MenEngage Alliance, Promundo, MÄN, ANNA-National Center for the Prevention of Violence, and Sonke Gender Justice

Ecological Masculinities

This recent book by Martin Hultman and Paul Pulé explores the profound yet little-discussed interrelations between masculinities and the climate and ecological crisis. It then explores ways that masculinities can advocate and embody broader, deeper and wider care for the global through to local commons.


Speakers and Moderators 

Sue-Ann Barratt (PhD), Institute for Gender and Development Studies, University of West Indies

Sue Ann is Lecturer at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. She is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, holding a BA in Media and Communication Studies with Political Science, MA Communication Studies, and PhD Interdisciplinary Gender Studies. Her research areas are interpersonal interaction, human communication conflict, social media use and its implications, gender and ethnic identities, mental health and gender based violence, and Carnival and cultural studies. She is dedicated to gender awareness and sensitivity training through face-to-face sessions and mass media outreach. Sue-Ann explores social/economic/political insecurities that emerge out of climate change induced crises.  This examines these insecurities as particularly gendered experiences that trouble climate justice and gender justice as mutually constitutive mandates.


Martin Hultman (PhD), Associate Professor (science-, technology- and environmental studies), Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University, Sweden

Dr Hultman has keen interest to find answers around the ways that can bring about behavioural change further building on the cognitive knowledge among human beings about the challenges of climate change. Dr. Hultman is a researcher engaged in doing in-depth empirical studies creatively combined with concepts from ecofeminism, posthumanities, discourse analysis and actor-network theory. At the moment Dr. Hultman is the research leader of a three year project dealing with social- and ecological entrepreneurship in the circular economy and one about climate change denialism. Simultaneously he develops knowledge around energy transitions, masculinities and environment.


Paul M Pulé (PhD), Division of Science, Technology and Society, at the Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University, Sweden

Dr. Pule is a scholar and community leader specialising in the intersection between men, masculinities and Earth. Dr. Pule  is an internationally recognised Mentor, Advocate, Leader and Researcher, working one-on-one, with businesses and communities, writing books, conducting studies and leading seminars and workshops that aim to help make the world a better place for all. In 2013, Paul completed a PhD that explored men’s capacities to care for self and all others. His personal and professional journey has forged a career that is both at the coal face of life’s ups and downs as well as deeply steeped in research, enabling him to offer support services focused on caring for all of life, with a special focus on men.


Vidar Vetterfalk, Psychologist and International Project Manager, MÄN, Sweden

Vidar is an active member of MÄN since it started in 1993, and he is working with engaging boys and men for gender equality and against violence in Sweden and internationally. For MÄN and for Vidar accountability is key and close cooperation with women’s movements are central in their development of holistic work with primary prevention, support to women survivors of men’s violence as well as tertiary prevention with perpetrators.  Vidar grew up on a Biodynamic farm and one of his passions is to explore the links between gender equality, the environment and the climate and how to engage more men to care together with others. He initiated the GeMiNI-network, a platform for gender equality organisations and environmental organisations to meet and develop new ideas and collaborations.


Laxman Belbase, Co-director of MenEngage Alliance Global Secretariat 

Laxman is a social worker and gender justice activist, with Master of Science degree and more than 12 years’ experience in program development, implementation and advocacy in the field of gender equality, child rights and social justice at national, regional and global levels.

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