6 x 9
23 photos, 8 illustrations
A global energy war is underway. It is man versus nature, fossil fuel versus clean energy, the haves versus the have-nots, and, fundamentally, an extractive economy versus a regenerative economy. The near-unanimous consensus among climate scientists is that the massive burning of gas, oil, and coal is having a cataclysmic impact on our atmosphere and climate, and depleting earth’s natural resources, including its land, food, fresh water and biodiversity.
These climate and environmental impacts are particularly magnified and debilitating for low-income communities and communities of color that live closest to toxic sites, are disproportionately impacted by high incidences of asthma, cancer and rates of morbidity and mortality, and lack the financial resources to build resilience to climate change.
Energy democracy tenders a response and joins the environmental and climate movements with broader movements for social and economic change. Energy democracy is a way to frame the international struggle of working people, low income communities, and communities of color to take control of energy resources from the energy establishment and use those resources to empower their communities—literally providing energy, economically, and politically. Energy democracy is more important than ever as climate and social justice advocates confront a shocking political reality in the U.S.
This volume brings together racial, cultural, and generational perspectives. This diversity is bound together by a common operating frame: that the global fight to save the planet—to conserve and restore our natural resources to be life-sustaining—must fully engage community residents and must change the larger economy to be sustainable, democratic, and just. The contributors offer their perspectives and approaches to climate and clean energy from rural Mississippi, to the South Bronx, to Californian immigrant and refugee communities, to urban and semi-rural communities in the Northeast. Taken together, the contributions in this book show what an alternative, democratized energy future can look like, and will inspire others to take up the struggle to build the energy democracy movement.
"As we transition off fossil fuels, we have a once-in-a-century opportunity to build a fair and democratic economy that works for everyone. In this marvelous collection, you'll hear directly from many of the inspiring leaders who have been theorizing, organizing, and laying the policy groundwork for that leap forward—and you might just be moved to join them."
Naomi Klein, author of "No Is Not Enough" and "This Changes Everything"
"Want to know how to address climate change, structural racism, and economic inequality at the same time? Start by reading this book. This is a critical read for those seeking to build a broader movement for economic equity, environmental justice, and planetary health."
Manuel Pastor, Director, Program for Environmental & Regional Equity, University of Southern California
"Energy Democracy is a call to action and a powerful tool for activists and grassroots leaders seeking to create a new energy paradigm that empowers our most vulnerable communities and fosters equitable, resilient economies."
Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO, PolicyLink
"From the Flint water crisis to calamities like Superstorm Sandy, it is becoming more evident that our nation must get serious about addressing environmental injustice. Energy Democracy advances a conversation about the climate crisis and deepening racial inequality at a time when these issues are in the forefront of our political landscape."
Gerry Hudson, Secretary-Treasurer, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
"Energy Democracy draws upon some of the most exciting voices in the growing movement for a new energy economy. It offers a clear vision of the clean energy future—pluralist, community-sustaining, and deeply democratic—that might just be possible if we learn to recognize and fight for it."
Gar Alperovitz, Co-founder of The Democracy Collaborative and Co-chair of The Next System Project
"There's no topic on the planet more important right now than democratizing energy—that's the precondition for the massive buildout of renewable energy that should be the chief occupation of a warming planet for decades to come. This book does a fine job of helping readers understand the perspectives and undercurrents that make breaking with the disastrous status quo both difficult and urgent."
Bill McKibben, author of "Deep Economy"
"True 'Energy Democracy' places us on a path where all communities, and especially our most vulnerable, have a chance to authentically participate in a holistic process focused on equitable, sustainable, resilient, and democratic changes that will benefit those who have often been overlooked, marginalized, and forgotten. This exceedingly important book connects the dots, and shares strategies on how we win on climate, how we win on renewable energy, and how we win on empowering vulnerable communities!"
Mustafa Santiago Ali, Senior Vice President, Hip Hop Caucus
Chapter 1. Introduction by Denise Fairchild and Al Weinrub
Chapter 2. From Commodification to the Commons: Charting the Pathway for Energy Democracy by Cecilia Martinez
Chapter 3. The Case for a Just Transition by Michelle Mascarenhas-Swan
Chapter 4. Energy Democracy Through Local Energy Equity by Strela Cervas and Anthony Giancatarino
Chapter 5. Base-Building and Leadership Development for Energy Democracy: APEN’s Work in East Bay Asian Immigrant and Refugee Communities by Vivian Yi Huang and Miya Yoshitani
Chapter 6. Organizing for Energy Democracy in Rural Electric Cooperatives by Derrick Johnson and Ashura Lewis
Chapter 7. Conflicting Agendas: Energy Democracy and the Labor Movement by Sean Sweeney
Chapter 8. Democratizing Municipal-Scale Power by Al Weinrub
Chapter 9. Community-Anchor Strategies for Energy Democracy by Maggie Tishman
Chapter 10. New Economy Energy Cooperatives Bring Power to the People by Lynn Benander, Diego Angarita Horowitz, and Isaac Baker
Chapter 11. Building Power Through Community-Based Project Development by Anya Schoolman and Ben Delman
Chapter 12. Conclusion: Building an Energy Democracy Movement by Denise Fairchild
As the current federal government tries to breathe new life into a dying fossil fuel economy, foment racial intolerance, reassert U.S. military dominance, eliminate health and other protections, and otherwise bow to corporate interests, it is a critical time to strengthen and empower our communities. To save the planet—and ourselves—we must find solutions that democratize energy, making it a vital resource for advancing the environmental, economic, and social justice needs of our communities. Confronting racial discrimination and advancing equity is central to developing a sustainable, decentralized energy alternative.
Edited by Denise Fairchild and Al Weinrub, Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions is the first book to show what building an alternative, democratized energy future can look like. Check out an excerpt from the book below.
Katharine is the Publicity & Marketing Associate at Island Press.