'There's always Winners and Losers': Traditional Masculinity, Resource Dependence, and Post-Disaster Environmental Complacency


Milnes, Travis, and Timothy J. Haney. 2017. "'There's always Winners and Losers': Traditional Masculinity, Resource Dependence, and Post-Disaster Environmental Complacency." Environmental Sociology 3 (3): 260-73. 

Authors: Travis Milnes, Timothy J. Haney


The 2013 Southern Alberta flood was a costly and devastating event. The literature suggests that such disasters have the potential to spur greater environmentalism and environmental action, as residents make connections between global environmental change and local events. However, the literature also suggests that residents in communities dependent on fossil fuel extraction might see technological disasters, like oil spills, as threats to their economic well-being, thereby limiting environmental reflexivity. Given that Alberta is home of the tar sands, how might a flood disaster affect men’s environmental views, given both traditional notions of masculinity and men’s economic dependence on oil production? Using a survey of 407 flood-affected residents of Calgary and in-depth qualitative interviews with 20 men directly impacted by the flood, this article demonstrates men’s decreased tendency to change their environmental views after the flood. The qualitative data reveal that men justify this reluctance by shifting blame for climate change to the Global South, by arguing for the economic centrality of the tar sands for Alberta, and by discussing how a warming climate will largely be a positive outcome for Alberta. The article concludes with discussion of relevance for environmental sociology and for public policy.

Keywords: environmental views, disaster, fossil fuels, oil sands, masculinities

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Masculinity/ies Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Canada

Year: 2017

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