“an intriguing, optimistic subculture on the rise”

Today, the IPCC released its latest report – that “the window of opportunity to save the planet is rapidly closing”:

UN issues gravest report yet on impacts of climate change | Daily Mail Online

One window of opportunity might well be presented by SolarPunk – as this excellent piece from last December shows. Here’s an excerpt:

Solarpunk is a positive vision of your future, grounded in our world. It emphasizes our need for social justice, self-governance, and sustainability.

Imagine this: you are a part of a lush green community, your house has a rooftop garden in a floating village. Everyone uses clean energy-fueled transport. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, that’s exactly the kind of hope-filled tale that solarpunk offers (1)…

If we were to give you a short explanation of solarpunk, we would say that it centers on ecological responsibility. It maintains a fundamental DIY impulse, community-minded, autonomous, and optimistic (5).

The longer explanation is that the idea of solarpunk was started as an aesthetic. It was a visual vocabulary and literary subgenre of sci-fi. The suffix “punk” places it in a science fiction lineage that includes the likes of cyberpunk, steampunk, and dieselpunk with a dramatically different iconography and vision. 

However, it has evolved into something practical over the past six or so years.

Often, solarpunk is seen in contrast to cyberpunk. Cyberpunk focuses on anxieties of the 1980s like monolithic corporatism, urban decay, and xenophobic streaks, Whereas solarpunk imagines a world where the climate concern – today’s existential crisis is either resolved or approached with adaptive ingenuity (6). 

“Advances in technology don’t lead to dystopia in solarpunk. Instead, it leads to a harmony with the world and a more egalitarian civilization,” stated Keisha Howard, an entrepreneur, and a video game developer, in a 2018 TED Talk (7). 

In the words of Rhys Williams, a preeminent solarpunk thinker (8), “solarpunk stands against a shitty future. The planet is on the clock, and we don’t have time for any fashionable pessimism.” 

Solarpunk: An Intriguing, Optimistic Subculture on the Rise – TimesNext