Samuel Miller McDonald

Prior to beginning his DPhil research, Sam obtained a Master of Environmental Management at Yale University studying energy politics and grassroots innovations in the US. He also holds a BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic. In addition to his academic work, Sam serves as Managing Editor at, an online publication dedicated to cultivating research and conversation on social change innovation.
Sam’s research examines the relationship between distributed electricity generation and political-economic egalitarianism in the United States. Focusing on community renewable energy groups in the US, Sam is investigating ways in which distributed, democratic control of energy resources impacts discourses and attitudes around economic inequality and political empowerment.
Less is More

Ecosocialism is the Horizon, Degrowth is the Way

At its most distilled, “degrowth” refers to a process of reducing the material impact of the economy on the world’s many imperiled ecologies, abandoning GDP as a measurement of well-being, and forging an equitable steady-state economy.

February 17, 2021


The Climate Movement Needs More Radicals

One of the protesters called out to the crowd gathered on Waterloo Bridge, “If you’ve ever wondered what you would have done during the Second World War, this is your answer.” Fighting evil in the 1940s was not a peaceful, niche enterprise. Doing so today must not be either.

June 11, 2019


What We Should Really Do for the Climate

The fact is, there is no “best thing” and there are no easy little tweaks that will amount to mitigating climate change. We each have to do a lot.

March 19, 2019

Battle of Chancellorsville

A Pyrrhic Climate

A recent debate in twitter’s climate community illuminated a schism between those arguing that mitigating climate change is impossible and those exhorting others to continue to “fight” climate change.

September 4, 2018

Dante's hell

Crime of the 21st Century: Perpetrators of Apocalypse, or, The Seven Circles of Hell

You and I are witnessing the twenty-first century’s great crime: a global holocaust whose first victims have already perished. Fossil energy economies are doing this. They transform the world into a deathly, suffocating hothouse sabotaging the climate and atmosphere. That’s what they do.

August 3, 2018

A Jobless Economy

Despite the legitimate concerns surrounding a guaranteed income, there is at least one self-evident ethical reason a guaranteed, non-labor income of no less than equivalent to a living wage (today about $15 per hour) should pay every American: most today suffer a state of forced labor.

May 22, 2018

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