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Who Owns the Wind?


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Why the wind, and energy it produces, should not be private property

About the Author

David Hughes is professor of Anthropology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He has written articles for Boston Review and three previous books, including Energy without Conscience. As an activist, Hughes has served as president of his faculty union and as a member of the Climate Task Force of the American Federation of Teachers.


Praise for Energy without Conscience (Duke University Press, 2017):

Hughes has contributed greatly to an understanding of how climate change is viewed in locations outside of the modern Western world. * Anthropology Book Forum *
Praise for Energy without Conscience (Duke University Press, 2017):

Energy without Conscience is a thoughtful take on how climate change complicity can exist without a countrywide collective conscience of wrongdoing, and this is where the story excels. Many of Hughes's arguments are clever, tight, and theoretically well connected to work by Bill McKibben, James Scott, Tania Li, Michael Watts, and others. * Geographical Review *
David Hughes it doing some of the most innovative thinking and writing about energy democracy in the world. The movements for climate justice are in his debt. -- Naomi Klein
How do we conjure hope in these times of climate breakdown? In Who Owns the Wind? David McDermott Hughes shows that a climate-stabilizing energy revolution must socialize renewables so that wind power comes to be equated with social justice rather than private gain. McDermott Hughes takes readers to a small town in Spain where wind is abundant, and where citizens rose up against privately-owned, corporate wind power, stymieing energy transition. To head off such resistance, McDermott Hughes advocates for a "socialism of the wind." Who Owns the Wind? shows that we will win fossil fuel abolition only if we succeed in transforming renewable power into a common resource, one that tangibly benefits and enfranchises the communities where turbines and other infrastructure is located. McDermott Hughes's book should be required reading for all energy democracy advocates and environmental justice activists. -- Ashley Dawson
No task is more crucial than building out renewable energy around the world--but it can't happen at the speed it must unless communities embrace windmills and solar panels. And as this frank, straightforward and clarifying book makes clear, that will happen if and when we have a real stake in these assets. The author's proposals are ambitious but also modest and logical, and they are deeply grounded in real life observation--this is a book to be reckoned with. -- Bill McKibben, author The End of Nature
David Hughes provides a nuanced and complex assessment of the perils and promises of developing renewable energy. Who Owns the Wind? is a joy to read, connecting large scale global forces with the lives and stories of individuals. This is a work full of insight, critical analysis, and even a modicum of hope. -- Richard York
Eloquent and incisive, this is an important contribution to climate change discourse. * Publishers Weekly *
As radical as the most ambitious of the green revolution's plans. -- Anna Aslanyan * Times Literary Supplement *

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