Anti-Resilience: A Roadmap for Transformational Justice within the Energy System

49 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2019

See all articles by Shalanda Helen Baker

Shalanda Helen Baker

Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

Climate change mitigation and adaptation require a transition of the energy system from one that relies on fossil fuels and is vulnerable to major climate events to one that is dependent on renewable energy resources and able to withstand climate extremes. Resilience has emerged as a conceptual frame to drive both climate and energy policy in this transitional moment. For example, in the wake of major storms such as Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, policymakers have frequently called for greater resilience of the energy system and resilience of vulnerable communities impacted by the storms.

This Article focuses on resilience at the system level. It argues that, in many cases, resilience of the energy system may actually reify structural inequality and exacerbate vulnerability. A hardening of existing energy infrastructure may also operate to harden existing social, economic, and environmental injustices that disproportionately burden the poor and people of color. Such situations call for new framings beyond resilience and transition toward liberation and transformation. This Article argues that, to facilitate the liberation of low-income communities and communities of color from the disproportionate impacts they face under the current energy system—and to foster a just transformation of the energy system—activists, policy-makers, and scholars engaged in the work of climate and energy justice must adopt a framework of anti-resilience: An antiracist and anti-oppression policy approach focused on the greater social and economic inclusion of people of color and low-income communities in the renewable energy transition.

Keywords: resilience, energy, climate change

Suggested Citation

Baker, Shalanda Helen, Anti-Resilience: A Roadmap for Transformational Justice within the Energy System (2019). Harvard Civil Rights- Civil Liberties Law Review (CR-CL), Vol. 54, pp. 1-48 (2019); Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 346-2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3362355

Shalanda Helen Baker (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-4070 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.northeastern.edu/law/faculty/directory/baker-s.html

Northeastern University - School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs ( email )

343 Holmes Hall
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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