In 2012, citizens from Highland Park, Michigan came together to form Soulardarity in response to the repossession of over 1,000 streetlights from their city. Their goal is to organise for community-owned solar street lights, energy production and equitable development. Since its formation, Soulardarity has installed seven solar streetlights and deployed over US$ 30,000 worth of solar technology in Highland Park and the surrounding communities through the PowerUP bulk purchasing programme. The group has also organised advocacy at the city and state levels for regulation, policy and local political leadership to support community ownership, transparency and environmental responsibility.
Soulardarity also advocates for a Community Ownership Power Administration (COPA) as part of the growing call in the United States for a Green New Deal to tackle climate change, economic inequality and racial injustice.
Community members banded together in a show of solidarity, committing to collective ownership and equity, transparency, and direct participation in the development and management of their energy infrastructure. This impressive collective commitment has transformed a once-rural village of just over 3,000 residents in the 1980s into a thriving urban metropolis of more than 40,000 residents today.
When citizens are left out of debates confined to government and the business community, the only means of influencing policy is to petition, protest, or litigate, usually after the horse has bolted. Will fracking be the latest technology introduced without any public debate?
The Japanese crisis is a wake up call for India, which is currently building of one of the world's largest nuclear power plants at Jaitapur, despite massive popular protest. When such a disaster can occur in an industrially advanced country like Japan, India, whose atomic agency is notorious for its poor safety standards, needs to rethink its nuclear ambitions.
There are 20 nuclear power plants in India, two in Pakistan and plans exist to expand the industry across South Asia; yet there are always multiple risks that exist as a result of the technology that cannot be mitigated.
Prime Minister Modi's government has frozen the bank accounts of Greenpeace India, part of a wider campaign against 'anti-national' movements that challenge India's development policies based on the aggressive exploitation of coal, minerals, big hydro and nuclear power.
The absence of over 70 percent of international delegates, denied temporary visa by the Canadian government, overshadowed the World Social Forum. Despite this saddening fact TNI's team managed to host and participate in a broad and diverse range of discussions, workshops and activities, for instance in the convergence space of “People and Planet before Profit. Moving away from Free Trade and Extractivism to Dismantle Corporate Power”.
Even with increases in energy efficiency, and despite the 45 percent who have no electricity connection - India's policy goal to quadruple energy consumption by 2032 represents a catestrophic GDP-ism focused on destructive models of development.