Just Powers Podcast

Energy Imaginaries—S1E5

In this episode we will be reading Sheena Wilson’s 2018 article titled “Energy Imaginaries: Feminist and Decolonial Futures,” which can be found in Materialism and the Critique of Energy, edited by Brent Ryan Bellamy and Jeff Diamanti.

Materialism and the Critique of Energy brings together twenty-one theorists working in a range of traditions to conceive of a twenty-first century materialism critical of the economic, political, cultural, and environmental impacts of large-scale energy development on collective life. In Wilson’s contribution, she outlines the current barriers to energy transition and the need to expand and deepen energy literacy in order to help us collaboratively imagine and collectively move toward socially just—decolonized and feminist—energy futures.

“We currently find ourselves at an impasse, unsure about how to transition to less carbon-intensive energy systems on the scale and within the timeframes required by the climate crisis. This energy impasse is the political, economic, and environmental deadlock created by the limits of Western ontologies and epistemologies that need to be newly thought. The task ahead is daunting, but is also rich with possibility. Instead of thinking of impasse as simply a “foreclosure of possibility,” it can be understood (as we in the After Oil collective have argued) as a moment of “radical indeterminacy…in which we might activate the potential obscured by business-as-usual…This moment is the transition to a society after oil. […] Creative energy solutions of all varieties — social, economic, political, techno-scientific — are being stymied by Western worldviews, which inevitably define the contours of our systems, social realities, and, therefore, in many cases, the limits of our imaginaries. How people embark on an energy transition in different local communities and at a global scale has the potential to either intensify the inequities that have been generated by oil-fuelled capitalism, or allow for the reintroduction of other non-patriarchal, non-Western ontologies erased by histories of conquest and domination in the interest of profit. Feminist, Indigenous, decolonial, and anti-capitalist visions for caring newly and differently for our ecologies can in turn create ecologies of care” (Wilson, 2018, 378-379).

The book is available online as a PDF for free here, and is also available through Amazon print-on-demand.