Cooperatives, Energy Democracy & The New Economy

Essential reading:

  • How We Live: A Journey Towards a Just Transition (Source: Kontent Films, Edge Funders Alliance, Movement Generation)

    Description: A video introduction to the concept of Just Transition, and some of the reasons why that frame is so essential. From the website: “The 7-minute video by Kontent Films takes a step back, beautifully defining and breaking down the terms “economy,” “ecology,” and “ecosystem” to help us look at the role that our current economic system has in our society and the environment, and what can be done to move us towards a more sustainable world.”

  • Toward a Climate Justice Energy Platform: Democratizing Our Energy Future (Source: Local Clean Energy Alliance, Center for Social Inclusion)
    Description: This paper is offered as a contribution to a national discussion regarding the elements of an energy platform that would strengthen the climate justice movement in the United States. While this effort is expressed in the movement to confront and stop increasingly extreme fossil fuel extraction, shipment, and consumption, and to transition to a 100% renewable energy system, its most powerful expression is in advocating for an alternative to the corporate energy establishment’s centralized renewable energy model. That alternative is a decentralized, democratized renewable energy model, one aligned with a climate justice strategy for addressing our current climate and economic crisis.

  • Energy, Democracy, Community (Source: Democracy Collaborative)
    Description: A great rundown of various examples and strategies for decentralized energy transition that provide a clear path to new ways of relating to energy generation and consumption. Also rooted in specific stories from the author's perspective in Baltimore!

  • The Pluralist Commonwealth (Source: Next System Project)
    Description: A video introduction to the theoretical concept of the 'pluralist commonwealth'; from the video transcript: "One design for a next system—what I call the Pluralist Commonwealth—helps clarify what we want, and how we get there. It takes a plural approach to building different forms of common wealth. Taken together, such forms create a practical, decentralized mosaic of a democratic economy to transform and displace the predatory, extractive elements of the current system."

Suggested reading:

  • From Banks and Tanks to Cooperation and Caring: A Strategic Framework for Just Transition (Source: Movement Generation)

    Description: A Just Transition requires us to build a visionary economy for life in a way that is very different than the economy we are in now. Constructing this visionary economy calls for strategies that democratize, decentralize and diversify economic activity while we damper down consumption, and (re)distribute resources and power. Offered in English and Spanish, the Strategic Framework for a Just Transition Zine is a 32-page long training tool that offers a framework for a fair shift to an economy that is ecologically sustainable, equitable and just for all its members. It is full of visuals, stand-alone sections, and curriculum ideas.

  • Building Community Capacity for Energy Democracy: A Deck of Strategies (Source: Democracy Collaborative)
    Description: As part of our work on The Next System Project, we are incredibly interested in the conversation around energy democracy: using the imperative of a switch to greener sources of power as an opportunity to also advance new forms of engaged community capacity and democratized wealth. But behind this simple basic principle is a bewildering array of actual strategies to be deployed on a shifting technological and regulatory canvas. And so, we present our deck of strategies for energy democracy.

  • Cooperatives for a Better World (Source: Cooperatives for a Better World)
    Description: In a world with a widening wealth gap, cooperatives combat this trend by empowering individuals, families, and communities with ownership in the businesses that shape their lives. Cooperatives for a Better World exists to unite the many cooperative enterprises around the world. In cooperation with the International Co-operative Alliance, we are promoting the cooperative business model as a mode of sustainable job and wealth creation.

  • (Source:
    Description: Cultivate.Coop is a free online hub for sharing knowledge and resources on cooperatives in a decentralized manner. The site is created by and for people who work in co-ops and serves as a space to practice cooperation and build educational tools for the co-op community. The site includes resources on different types of cooperatives, starting a cooperative, co-op governance, cooperatives and social/economic change, cooperative history and movement, and cooperative philosophies.