An Eco-sustainable World
PowerTo the Future

Ecological transition and energy democracy

Ecological transition and energy democracy

The 21st century has opened under the banner of great challenges and countless emergencies involving the entire planet.
Ecological, climatic and social crises that demand answers but also new questions. How did we get to this point and why didn’t we act in time? But above all how to face a future that allows us not to fall into what seems like an inevitable abyss.
Yet it seems that history has synchronized a series of timers with coincident deadlines.
Suffice it to say that according to the United Nations and, unanimously for the European Union, all political programs must converge towards a climate-neutral economy by 2050; which is equivalent, also according to the provisions of Agenda 2030, to a democracy shared by all peoples and to respect for their rights.
A synthesis which obviously contains an ambitious programme, above all for the ethical and political repercussions it entails.
In the background the other energy timer which, according to estimates in the World Energy Outlook 2015 by the International Energy Agency (IEA), tells us that at current production rates, oil will run out in 53 years, natural gas in 54 years and coal in 110.
The other timer that worries the most is that of the ecological crisis. According to the most accredited estimates, by the end of the century, 50 percent of living species risk disappearing if decisive action is not taken immediately; a figure that emerged from the report of some scientists who met in the Vatican on the occasion of the Biological Extinction conference, held from February 27 to March 1, and which was attended by biologists, ecologists and economists.
The basic question, which is discussed too little, is that without energy democracy we risk going nowhere, whatever efforts we make.
When we talk about energy democracy we are referring to the possibility that every person must have to contribute to general needs. No longer the global monopolies to manage energy sources but the communities. The primary energy source of democracy and the rights of all.
So why energy democracy? Because the much sought-after circular economy cannot be implemented without the possibility that each person contributes to the flow and sharing that the social system must generate.
Monopolies generate dominance, colonialism, subjection; The whole of history is full of them, especially in recent centuries, with peoples subjected, deported, annihilated, in the name of conquerors and dominators. From the American Indians, whose victims are estimated to be between 55 and over 100 million, to the Armenians, Jews, Tutsi and so on, for an inestimable number of abuses of rights, perpetrated in the name of spreading the “civilizations” of the conquerors.
It is the story of liberalism and the linear economy.
In a linear economic system, energy is also an instrument of power. But in the world there are already several models of production and distribution of energy that are more just, equitable and compatible with life on the planet.
Today, despite all the ugliness that surrounds us, awareness and awareness is spreading that there is an alternative system, which puts an end to the old question and power struggle between the right and the left, which despite the significant differences, have founded their ideology on the Linear Economy. As if to say branches of the same tree.
Today it is increasingly evident that the tree from which to draw new ideologies is completely different.
With different structures and logics; that circular economy in which Ethics, Law and Duties change.

A co-responsibility and a sharing that require new logics.
And so the concept of energy democracy appears on the horizon.
Term that takes shape in the context of the German movement for climate justice, at the Climate Camp in Lausitz in 2012. In the same year, six international trade union federations form a new organization called “Unions for Energy Democracy”, following a coordinated round table in New York by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, the Global Labor Institute and Cornell University.
“A truly sustainable transition – explains the final report – will only be made possible if the power [to decide on it] is taken away from corporations, which exclusively pursue profit, and transferred to ordinary citizens and communities”. And this implies that “workers participate actively in decisions on the production and use of energy” but also that “energy is recognized as a public good and a basic right”.
It almost seems like a heresy in the bleak panorama of privatizations, administrative centralization and the excessive power of the energy-financial giants that grips energy production and distribution as well as transition policies around the world.
Yet energy democracy is the only one that will allow us the ecological transition as the only principle that is perfectly synchronous with the rules of nature and, therefore, of ecology. In nature there are no dominations or predominance. Everything is shared, divided, shared.
Various disciplines are moving in this direction, which are the slices of the circular economy pie, including agroecology, energy communities, purchasing groups and many other experiences that make us understand how completely different the world of the future will be to what we are inheriting after centuries of politics of the impossible, such as unlimited growth, indefinite development, globalization without rules, and so on.
To implement all this, a fundamental word is needed: Politics. A new Vision of Politics, which demands a new ethics and a new training of the future citizens and managers of tomorrow.
The war in Ukraine (with all the other 58 scattered throughout the world, at the time of writing) has made even more evident another inconvenient truth: the sovereignty of states is strongly conditioned by the security of energy supplies and resources . The competition between hegemonic superpowers is in fact a substantial obstacle to the ability of the sovereign institutions of the subordinate powers to impose their own decisions, even when the latter are democratically determined.
And in this sense, the ecological transition, maintaining the status quo of the current liberal policy, is impossible.
As mentioned, we need a new Policy and this is possible not by trivializing it in schools, by re-proposing old logics, but by giving our young people a strong ecological awareness and, above all, by explaining to them the Politics contained in the principles of Nature. It’s not a pun. It is not a purely literary exercise but the grafting of a new Ethics with which the People of the future must take shape.
We must definitively get out of the logic of right and left, we are talking about a new political dimension, founded on new principles (even if, to put it like Mahatma Gandhi, as old as the mountains).
The Circular Economy is the foundation of Life, the Linear Economy was the cornerstone of colonialism. We are on two completely different dimensions.
The 21st century has presented itself with a great historical burden and responsibility, but it is also handing us a new legacy that we must invest with new awareness and responsibility.

Guido Bissanti

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