2019 Energy Person of the Year: The Climate Warriors


The spirit of resistance … is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all.”

— Thomas Jefferson

Each year, the American Energy Society selects the people, publications and media that did the most to influence energy and the environment in that calendar year. The Climate Warriors are the 2019 winners of this award.

Every revolution has a defining generation that exerts greater influence over the direction of change than its contemporaries. Both gifted and flawed, an older generation of leaders fostered the American Revolution of 1776 and the 19th century Industrial Revolution, while passionate young people led the first religious Great Awakening in the 17th century and the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960s.

Energy is undergoing an epochal transformation, and at various times we are all its revolutionaries. This revolution is much like others, where different generations do not always share common objectives. The first revolutionaries, like Richard Swanson, Jigar Shah, Lynn Jurich, Emily Kirsch and Michael Skelly forged new paths, but the scope of their vision was often focused very narrowly on renewable energy: safer sources, but incapable of generating sufficient amounts of power. The shale revolutionaries followed, like George Mitchell, Aubrey McClendon, Harold Hamm and Charif Souki. They successfully applied hydraulic fracturing techniques to achieve an abundance of affordable energy that wasn’t entirely safe.

These two revolutionary generations never found common ground.

In 2019, the energy revolution saw the rise of a new generation of Climate Warriors. First, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez challenged Congress. Then came younger impatient revolutionaries: Greta Thunberg (“I don’t want you to be hopeful”); the students who blocked Congress; those in Chile who firebombed Enel utility offices to protest rising rising electricity prices; young onion protesters in India; the 4-plus million global participants in the global climate strike; @LittleMissFlint (aka Mari Copeny —

 12 years old, 115K Twitter followers); and others, like Marlow Baines, Isha Clarke and Tokata Iron Eyes (all seasoned activists at the age of 16-years-old) who call for energy justice.

Along with other awards in energy, the American Energy Society has also announced the winner of Energy Book of the Year.

Edison (Random House) by Edmund Morris

Nominees for Energy Book of the Year also included:

  • ​Superpower: One Man’s Quest to Transform American Energy by Russell Gold
  • Power Trip: The Story of Energy by Michael Weber
  • Double Jeopardy: Combating Nuclear Terror and Climate Change by Daniel Poneman

You can visit the American Energy Society here.

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