EcoReps are students on various college campuses that promote sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices to our peers. Each year, these students in the Southeast come together for a weekend to share ideas and listen to keynote speakers to further our knowledge on our environment.
Peterson will attend the 2018 Southeastern EcoRep Conference and do multiple presentations designed to explore creative ways to talk about climate change.
Looking at the intersections of LGBTQ issues, faith, justice, and climate change, Peterson’s storytelling and facilitation helps bring people together to unearth shared values and concerns. Having straddled multiple worlds that have not always complimented each other, Peterson refocuses the conversation to the people behind the politics. As a character actor, he seamlessly transforms before your eyes, using comedy to take on serious issues.
- Read an interview with NYU press about how Peterson uses comedy to address serious issues.
- Learn how on earth an LGBTQ activist and Bible scholar connected these issues to climate change. (Yale Climate Connections)
- Read Peterson’s recent HuffPost piece, Save the Unicorn! LGBTQ Responses to Climate Change
Conversations that entertain and enlighten
Peterson Toscano led a transformative lunch-time discussion exploring the intersection between race, justice, and climate change, focusing on environmental racism in disaster relief efforts. From beginning to end, Peterson made Bates students feel welcomed, supported, and hopeful - a task nearly impossible when discussing the climate crisis. Peterson Toscano, a true beam of light, touched hearts and minds as he equipped Bates students with the rhetorical tactics and perspective necessary to create a more equitable world, and for that we are so thankful!
He does such a good job at taking really big and scary issues … and is able to present them in a way that is accessible. One of the best things his talks are able to do is focus on the intersections of people’s identities and social justice issues, and not a lot of people are able to do that.
Who is Peterson Toscano?
Peterson Toscano is a performance artist, activist and comic storyteller. Although he performs throughout North America and Europe, he actually lives in Sunbury, PA. Toscano presents original one-person comedies that explore gender, sexuality, faith, and climate change.
His own personal story is bizarre. At first he struggled to accept himself seeing a conflict between his Christian faith and his gay orientation. After 17 years and over $30,000 trying to “de-gay” himself, he came to his senses and came out gay. He created the one-person play, Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House, helped produce the award winning documentary film, This is What Love in Action Looks Like, and contributed to the Lambda Award winning anthology, Gender Outlaws–The Next Generation.
As someone concerned with human rights, for the past two years Toscano has taken on climate change as his primary focus as he considers LGBTQ, faith, and comic responses to the climate crisis. His does not dole out the typical gloom and doom, shame and guilt global warming messages. Instead he infuses his work with hope. He challenges audiences to pursue community building as he helps them connect climate change to everything from immigration to a cup of coffee. He is the creator of Climate Stew and the host of Citizens Climate Radio.
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
From three days up to threes weeks Peterson has been invited for residencies at universities including Haverford College, University of Puget Sound, Virginia Theological Seminary, Warren Wilson College, and Cambridge University. He teaches classes in religion, theology, gender studies, environmental science, and social sciences as well as meets with campus groups. While on campus Peterson presents public performances that bring in a diversity of students and faculty as well as community members off-campus.
It's not hard to see why Peterson's been successful engaging people across backgrounds in some interesting and important discussions. The discussions and followups were thoughtful and productive. He challenged some of our notions and approaches in intelligent ways and got the office thinking in some exciting new directions.