My thesis is that the male psyche of dominance, also over women, has contributed to the mismanagement of the climate crisis; therefore, I summarize the main historical events regarding domination by man over nature and women.

The dominance of man over nature is an ancient concept in the Western world. The Bible states, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth1”. Adam had the task of caretaker of the Garden of Eden. Nature was portrayed as a garden easily ordered and to be enjoyed. However, after Adam’s sin, Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden. The great flood came, and Noah saved humanity and all the animals. Now nature is not easily ordered anymore, but the earth will still allow man to carry out God’s plans. “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb, have I given you all things2”.

In the 16th century, Francis Bacon wrote, "let the human race recover the right over nature which belongs to it by divine bequest." Bacon combined this right to dominate nature with the application of practical science. Science and technology were the means to govern nature. He also wrote about foreign policy and the idea of "greatness." The idea of the greatness of commonwealths was an ancient one, and writers insisted that conquests were defensive or were necessary for a people to hold what they had. Habermas and the Frankfort school viewed the Baconian idea of applied science to represent not so much as a source of progress but as a means of domination of nature and other men.

Domination by other men was a common practice from Roman times and continued in Europe. The American economic elite of white males exercised their historical dominance over Native Americans, slaves, Blacks, and Hispanics. This is American history, where women also were denied many rights. In the sphere of foreign policy, the US and most European nations engaged in the colonization of the less-developed countries.

In 1971 with the publication of The Entropy Law and the Economic Process Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen showed that economic systems were part of physical nature, subject to principles of entropy. The concept of nature, with man independent of it, was no longer the case. Man’s activity, and explicitly the economy, was subject to the laws of physics.

In 1974 Francoise d’Eaubonne published Le Feminisme ou la Mort, introducing a new concept of “ecofeminism” where the oppression of all marginalized groups (women, people of color, children, the poor) was seen as resulting in the oppression and domination of nature (animals, land, water, air, etc.). The author argued that oppression, domination, exploitation, and colonization by the Western patriarchal society had caused irreversible environmental damage. She was aware of an excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, “The air is charged with 10 percent more carbon dioxide gas than at the beginning of the recent era called industrial3.”

In 1982 Exxon’s own scientists confirmed the global warming consensus with in-house climate models. However, starting in 1987, Exxon's management began to campaign to cast doubt on climate science, publicly deriding the type of work of its scientists. Exxon reportedly funded 39 organizations that misrepresented climate science by outright denial or by overstating the uncertainties4. All of the major fossil fuel companies were led by males.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC was formed in 1988. From the beginning they’ve been producing reports that are the consensus of the world’s scientists and governments on climate change. Over the years, they have produced overwhelming evidence that climate change is caused by man's use of fossil fuels, which produce GHG emissions. The solution they propose is to reduce the GHG emissions, primarily by using renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, permitting the decrease in the consumption of fossil fuels. After decades of acrimonious debates, UN negotiations produced a climate treaty, the Paris Agreement of 2015, that set global and national goals for GHG reduction.

According to the latest 2022 IPCC report, emissions must peak by 2025 to keep global warming well below the 2°C limit set by the Paris agreement. This is difficult, not impossible, to achieve. The current policies scenario results in a high 2.8˚ C increase, according to the latest emissions gap report. A world with a 3.0 ˚C increase is horrific, as illustrated in the excellent video by the Economist5.

The blame for this dire situation lies primarily with the fossil fuel industry that continued, from 1982 when they knew of the climate damage, to promote the use of their fuels. Big Oil dominated everyone, including politicians, other key economic sectors, and consumers. The oil industry made possible the automobile industry. This was tied to the highway system and the related urban-suburban model typical of Los Angeles, now under discussion. We, as consumers, bought the car as a means of freedom of movement. We could go, move anywhere. It also became a status symbol, a common way to show how much one was worth. So we were, and are, tied to oil in many ways. Some uses, such as fuel for airplanes and petrochemical products, are difficult to substitute in the short term. The transition to carbon neutrality will be complex. Global GHG emissions have yet to decline.

The oppressive behavior of the male dominated, fossil fuel elite, has had a prime role in this climatic travesty. We must try to understand what happened, also psychologically.

There is a toxic male way of oppressing females. This male mindset is examined to see if some of the characteristics may be the same or analogous to those used by the fossil fuel elite. In their domination of other businesses, politicians, and consumers; they oppressed the world, over one-half of which is female. Of course, pursuing profits of the industry and of management played an important role (in complete disregard for the enormous damage and crisis we now face), but it is the psychology of duplicity that is typical of man’s oppression of women that made it so easy.

According to Eduardo Albinati, man feels he has no choice: the male dominates or is dominated, so he seeks to prevail as a preventive move6 . There is no middle ground where the male can consider alternative, possibly collaborative solutions with women. A different role toward nature, such as the gardener, is excluded. Man is rash, with no time for such subtleties.

The main characteristics of oppression of women (as I perceive them) include:

  • sexual harassment and abuse, particularly at the workplace;
  • insistence on the caring, mothering role as the primary duty, limiting women's choices;
  • lower wages for the identical mansions as men;
  • limited promotion and positions of power;
  • many other kinds of discrimination are too lengthy to be listed here;
  • a male, toxic mindset that may allow men to lapse into one of the above forms of explicit oppression of women.

Being a male and guilty of occasional masculinity, I will attempt to describe the mindset.

First, we are heavier, taller, more muscular, and thus stronger than women. Notice that women come in all sizes, so males generally choose a companion that is like us but smaller. We may not lay a hand on our female mate (hopefully never), but we think we would win if it ever came to that. We have this security; women do not. And we should show our physical superiority but not involve the woman directly. Secondary violence, and they get the unspoken message. You must choose a heavy object and really shake or destroy it. I admit to being lucky in this. I bought a wooden house in Texas. It was two floors high, but being made of lumber, you could feel small vibrations walking around. When my wife made me very angry, I would get under the staircase and shake the whole house. You could feel the oscillations two rooms away. I was Sansone at the temple, and what I could do to my mate was not lost. A threatening look at the potential victim was unnecessary, although not excluded.

More insidious than this, but stemming from it, is that we ‘own’ our female mate. Most of the time, we may play the lord protector, but not always. You are our property. Again, this does not have to be explicit; men just feel it. When our property 'misbehaves,' the threat of violence may be necessary. Mature males realize that committing violence against women is not in their interest. There is the possibility of arrest, trial, and incarceration. Only a threat or show of a bit of violence is needed. Unfortunately, not all males can stop here; their property must be made to behave, or it should not exist, as the femicide statistics show.

The other basic concept used for domination is duplicity. Men are expected to stretch the truth extensively in the case of women. It is not considered lying. The beauty of duplicity is that it can manifest itself in so many different forms. It is so useful!

A most basic form of duplicity is denial. We can deny everything without necessarily making explicit the supposed truth. In fact, climate denial is so effective because of this. It creates doubt without requiring the doubter to supply an alternative hypothesis. As reported earlier, the fossil fuel industry successfully used this extensively, by outright denial and spreading unwarranted doubts. This behavior is irrational, and males use it effectively against women. One of the most effective denials is the silent one. The opponent is simply ignored. The female is simply not worthy of a response.

Other forms of duplicity are rather obvious, but the point is that the male uses them better, with more proficiency, and with more frequency than females. A favorite one is "going back on one's word," which should be given privately to avoid third-party verification. The female is humiliated; she has misunderstood us. She did not get the basic agreement, outlook, decision, or what have you. Our version is subtly or substantially different from the original. The male must be very adamant and convincing in this role. It functions in so many settings, work, politics, and married life.

We males also have many tricks of seduction; however, as a gentleman and liar, I will briefly discuss the male mindset of sex. Sexual enjoyment can be universal, good for both, and in mature couples, it usually is. Non-commercial sex, in my view, has a limited role in the domination of males over women. Males may use their physical superiority to insist upon certain physical preferences, such as undue emphasis on penetration or positions that may not always be agreeable to the female partner, and in this sense, the woman may be dominated and abused. However, most males have woken up to the richness of the female sensuality and have changed to the mutual satisfaction of both.

That said, the male's temptation to use their power and dominance in the work setting to elicit female (and sometimes male) sexual favors is enormous. It can best be combined with duplicity and denial, and only recently has the MeToo movement begun to reveal the tip of the sexual abuse iceberg at work. In a 2017 MSN poll, it was reported that 31% of people in the US have been sexually harassed in the workplace; 45% of women said they were sexually harassed, and 15% percent of men said they were.

Man’s role as a warrior, although not directly related to women, may favor violence in other contexts than war. Battles are seen as a moment of truth, where controversies are decided, and men may take part in a narrative which is transmitted for generations. The myth of the heroic war is part of our Western culture: the heroes who attain glory in battle will find visibility in epic songs, books, movies and reach the kind of immortality given to mortals. This violent, male tradition may on occasion influence the relationship with women.

Where sex is procured with money, the toxic mindset is that of power with the right to dominance. It is, of course, illegal, but the small amount of money involved relative to the income of rich men makes the temptation too easy. The male is rich, powerful, and worthy; the woman is enticing, for sale, and cheap. This is a disaster and a form of oppression of epic dimensions. It may involve sex slavery, children, and the related pornography. Prostitutes often suffer from substance abuse with higher risk of mental and health problems. In some places, prostitution has been legalized; however, the male mindset remains that of domination, even enjoying the small risk of illegality of laws, which are hardly enforced. The fact that rich, powerful men feel free to violate the law, and behave immorally by other standards, may have encouraged the rape of the planet. Mother earth was there for the taking.

What is needed is for empowered, pro-female males to stand up. Males can do so in several ways; first being a supporter of climate improvement and second possibly an activist. Men should support the ecofeminists. Big Oil and Gas will continue to use the techniques of a toxic male mentality, proceeding in additional exploration for new fossil resources and prolonging the use of these fuels. Many politicians will continue to delay and to minimize climate solutions, typical of the male toxic mentality, in the face of our extreme climate emergency. Most have not realized that the nature of growth has changed: to get to carbon neutrality we must make the environmental compensation (reduction in emissions) for growth itself. Men ought to favor a just climate transition. We should support males that stand up against this toxic male mindset.


1 Bible, King James Version, Genesis.1:28.
2 Bible, King James Version, Genesis, 9:3.
3 d’Eaubonne, F. (2022), Feminism or Death, translation and appendices by Ruth Hottell, Verso.Kindle Edition.
4 Banerjee, Neela; Cushman Jr., John H.; Hasemyer, David; Song, Lisa., (2016), Exxon: The Road Not Taken, InsideClimate News, Kindle Edition.
5 The Economist, (2021), “See what three degrees of global warming looks like.”
6 Albinati, E., (2016), "La scuola cattolica", BUR Contemporanea Rizzoli, Milan Italy.