Revolutionary Power: An Activist's Guide to the Energy Transition (Paperback)
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In September 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, completely upending the energy grid of the small island. The nearly year-long power outage that followed vividly shows how the new climate reality intersects with race and access to energy. The island is home to brown and black US citizens who lack the political power of those living in the continental US. As the world continues to warm and storms like Maria become more commonplace, it is critical that we rethink our current energy system to enable reliable, locally produced, and locally controlled energy without replicating the current structures of power and control.
In Revolutionary Power, Shalanda Baker arms those made most vulnerable by our current energy system with the tools they need to remake the system in the service of their humanity. She argues that people of color, poor people, and indigenous people must engage in the creation of the new energy system in order to upend the unequal power dynamics of the current system.
Revolutionary Power is a playbook for the energy transformation complete with a step-by-step analysis of the key energy policy areas that are ripe for intervention. Baker tells the stories of those who have been left behind in our current system and those who are working to be architects of a more just system. She draws from her experience as an energy-justice advocate, a lawyer, and a queer woman of color to inspire activists working to build our new energy system.
Climate change will force us to rethink the way we generate and distribute energy and regulate the system. But how much are we willing to change the system? This unique moment in history provides an unprecedented opening for a deeper transformation of the energy system, and thus, an opportunity to transform society. Revolutionary Power shows us how.
About the Author
Shalanda Baker is a professor at the Northeastern School of Law. Before joining Northeastern’s faculty, Professor Baker spent three years as an associate professor of law at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai’i, where she was the founding director of the Energy Justice Program. Prior to that, she served on the faculty at the University of San Francisco School of Law. In 2016, she won a Fulbright award and spent a year in Mexico exploring energy reform, climate change and indigenous rights.
"A well-considered manifesto for equity in the distribution of power—that is, the kind that fuels our vehicles and lights our homes... A book full of welcome, practical solutions to the energy—and, consequently, climate—crisis."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Part personal narrative, part activist’s guidebook...Revolutionary Power is a hopeful book..[in which] Baker offers a clear path forward, unafraid to get into the necessary nitty gritty of how to achieve such a monumental shift....this book moves past theory to demystify the utility sector and focus on action."
— The Progressive
"For anyone looking to better understand what a clean energy system would look like under the Green New Deal, this is necessary reading. With Revolutionary Power, Baker has delivered a seminal contribution to the growing body of literature on climate change and clean energy by engaging us all in an honest, cogent conversation about how energy systems too often center white, western, and male points of view, and she provides a clear and constructive road map for how policymakers and environmental activists can center instead the Black, brown, Indigenous, and other traditionally marginalized communities with whom climate justice must be decided in partnership."
"A playbook for the energy transformation complete with a step-by-step analysis of the key energy policy areas that are ripe for intervention...Capably and competently written, organized and presented, Revolutionary Power: An Activist's Guide to the Energy Transition is an impressively informed and informative study."
— Midwest Book Review
"The true purpose of the book comes back to a call for action, and a need for action now … not after whole sections of power grid have failed. Read this book and see a path forward. Read this book and take up the mantle to advocate for racial justice within the power that should be a human right. Read this book - now, before the lights go out."
— Electronic Green Journal
"Who knew that a book on energy justice would be so captivating? Revolutionary Power is a deeply personal, spirt-filled, and accessible read into the struggles and practical policy solutions to return our toxic energy systems to the commons, and address a legacy of environmental racism. It is an inspiring guide that makes energy and energy justice easy to understand and radical ideas doable."
— Denise Fairchild, President/Chief Executive Officer, Emerald Cities Collaborative; co-editor of "Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions"
"The story of environmental racism and climate change begins with the plunder, pillaging and extraction of our land and labor. It is personal for those of us of African and Indigenous ancestry. Revolutionary Power takes us on a journey of love and gives history, context, and life to the frontline struggle for reclamation and community ownership of renewable energy and the future of our communities. Shalanda Baker’s story is our story and makes clear that the descendants of extraction must be the 'architects and beneficiaries of the new energy system.' This important literary contribution honors our ancestors while lifting the complexity, sophistication, and frontline-centered solutions of the climate justice movement."
— Elizabeth C. Yeampierre, Executive Director, UPROSE