Australan climate change researcher, author, and notable feminist Paul Pulé will be giving a presentation over his and Martin Hultman's book, Ecological Masculinities, from 3:30-5 p.m. this Wed. Oct. 9 in Robert Scott Smalls (RSS) room 235.
The presentation, according to Pulé, is less about the book itself, and more about breaking down complex ideas surrounding and bridging between climate change and sexism. This talk comes hot off the heels of young activist Greta Thunberg's visit to the states and the angry reaction she received from some critics.
"Really, fundamentally, it’s about, not specifically promoting the book as an item, so much as we are using the book as a way of expanding a conversation," Pulé said. "It corresponded with Greta Thunberg arriving in the U.S., complete coincidence, and we noticed that she got nailed by a lot of misogynistic climate deniers."
According to his research, the idea of misogynistic climate deniers is hardly a rarity. In fact, in his book, Pulé describes the masculine characteristics, or performances, present predominantly in males, that are commonly found among climate change deniers.
Pulé was and is careful to ensure that the differences between male and masculine is clear in his writing and his speech.
“Typically, people who aren’t gender-trained will collapse them together,” he said.” But honestly, they are distinct conversations that are related to each other. When we use the term 'man' we refer to certain people in certain bodies … and when you cross into masculinities, what we are talking about there are social constructions — assertive, competitive, aggressive, domineering.”
In advocating against racism, sexism, and homophobia, the line to which Pulé returns again and again is the idea of sameness and togetherness working in tandem with diversity. He paints a picture of a hurricane that tears through a cornfield, every stalk perfectly the same, and by the time the storm is over, the entire field is flattened and useless.
However, that same hurricane could go through a forest, and although trees would fall and branches would be broken, Pulé says that the devastation left behind would leave room for growth from what remains.
"What the earth teaches us is that we are complex, and our relationships are really our saving grace," he says. "So, the problem I have with a far-right identity-politics agenda is that it tends to want to homogenize us."
Pulé’s train of thought and speech flows from the effects of climate change to optimistic realism and back again, while still somehow keeping on topic. As he says, the conversation is complex, broad, deep, and worth exploring.
Wednesday's talk is being hosted by the Sustainability Literacy Institute at the College of Charleston.