Societal transitions towards a new energy regime are underway in order to shift society back towards a more sustainable state of functioning. However, this pathway is not without trade-offs and equity challenges, related not only to the future distribution and production of energy from renewable energy sources, but also for communities that have supported the prior energy regime.
In Eastern Kentucky and Appalachia, the clean energy transition comes at the cost of economic loss in communities that have produced and processed coal for over 100 years. A Just Transition is one in which the burden of the transition does not fall heavily on those who have already borne the burden of producing coal, but instead ensures that benefits are distributed and that communities have an active voice in the transition.
Coal communities should be granted the same benefits that other communities will receive from a changed energy regime. This means not only creating clean energy jobs and ensuring neighbourhoods are free of environmental contamination with clean air and water but also empowering these communities with the tools and resources that are needed for them to have agency in the creation of this new trajectory.
View the original post on medium.com, published as part of the Just Transitions initiative.
Faced with a series of social and environmental stresses and shocks, there are urgent calls for radical, systemic change. But, as past and present experience show, this can take many forms. What does it take to make sustainability transformations emancipatory (caring), rather than repressive (controlling)?
Find out more about our theme for 2018 on our Transformations theme page.