Exploring various links out of the extensive Solarpunk: a Reference Guide gives me a feel for a budding genre. The library of solarpunk content is relatively sparse yet inspiringly diverse. It is a genre that extends from books to fashion to video games. In being so sparse yet diverse, the genre may come off as spread thin or lacking direction, yet at the core of each connection between nodes there is a strong fiber.
What is that fiber? Having only glanced at its surface, it appears to me to be: the radically optimistic near-future vision of the world, shifted from ecological-exploitation to ecological-harmony, blooming with *regenerative lifestyles and landscapes*. This act of envisioning a better world reminds me of my related experiences/writings (From Mind to World: Envisioning a Better World In Route to Building a Better World), deeply appreciating the power of imagining better ways.
Some of the most digestable explorations of the genre I came across, in order of preference:
1. The original, simple & sweet Tumblr post which seemingly sparked the Solarpunk fire: http://missolivialouise.tumblr.com/post/94374063675/heres-a-thing-ive-had-around-in-my-head-for-a
2. Overview via TVTropes: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SolarPunk
3. Summary via The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/explainer-solarpunk-or-how-to-be-an-optimistic-radical-80275
That original Tumblr inspiration for the grassroots (or perhaps, ‘punky-woody’) movement lists some buzz words for the genre:
Tailors and dressmakers!
Stained glass window solar panels!!!
Education in tech and food growing!
Less corporate capitalism, and more small businesses!
Solar rooftops and roadways!
Communal greenhouses on top of apartments!
Electric cars with old-fashioned looks!
No-cars-allowed walkways lined with independent shops!
Renewable energy-powered Art Nouveau-styled tech life!
The key concepts that strike me are:
– Ecologically-oriented, ‘regenerative’ lifestyles and landscapes
– Decentralization and a shift in scale (prime example: many small businesses vs. few mega-corporations)
– Abundance of energy from the Sun. What is life like with such abundance, what do people do with their time?
– General-specialization in basic self-reliance skills, expanded from what we think of the basics today (e.g. not only is the average person more of a green thumb, they’re also more of a tinkerer and geek).
– Overall less dissonance, more coherence, more just systems & approaches on various scales.
The key questions that strike me are:
…being worked out for my own exploration of the genre…
– How do telecommunications work? More specifically, what is the internet like? Will it improve through decentralization, broad agreement on basic rights, both, or what?
– How do enterprises work that require larger scale? For one, I imagine there’s simply less reliance on them (e.g. fossil fuel refinement, large-loan institutions and banks, _the screw factory_).
– What is day-to-day life like and what is one’s career like?
– How do people find meaning in their lives?
– What is spirituality like, if it persists at all? From local shamans to continent-wide religious conglomerates, with perhaps the occasional roaming wizard.