Many of the students, 14 who represented both the natural and social sciences, enrolled in the class because they couldn’t imagine how gender and climate change were connected, said Maureen Biermann, who developed and taught the online course.

The Gender and Climate Change course focused on how gender shapes our experiences of climate change in terms of how we understand the science, our actual contributions to the causes of climate change and how we experience it.

“For example, research shows that people who fall outside of the gender binary — who don’t fall into the clear male, female categories that we historically use to structure our society — these people tend to be more at risk following major climate events like hurricanes,” Biermann said. “Things that turn into disasters disproportionately affect those in the LGBTQ community.”

Gender’s relationship to climate change has been on the radar in academia for at least 15 years but has tended to focus on women’s experiences. Many aspects, including research on LGBTQ communities and men, are still underexplored.

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