Solarpunk and Radical Optimism

February 27, 2019

I was listening to a podcast in the car the other day, and learned about this relatively new movement called "Solarpunk." It appears to be a social media and movement created by people who are sick of the dystopian focus of current and previous decades and want to talk about a future in which things aren't so grim. 

Solarpunk seems to be founded on a solid base of optimism, believing that even if our current problems are significant, our abilities to solve them and our  available and developing technologies are up for the challenge. Rooted in permaculture, sustainable agriculture, and new environmental technologies, Solarpunk asks us to lift our eyes to the dawn of a new day in which the shit really isn't hitting the fan.

I don't know that much about it yet, but the optimism of the movement heartens me. These days, it's not cool to be optimistic; in fact, one of the most radical things you can do these days is to say "hey, things aren't really that bad!" Current social culture seems bent on dividing us and gearing us up into all manner of  good vs. evil superhero-universe dramas that both infantilize and disempower us. Everything's about Us vs. The Other these days, and if you dare say that we're all kinda the same and nobody's as bad as who they're made out to be, you're going to get your hippie tofu or GMO-laced nitrate-meat shoved down your throat and called bad names.

So I'm up with Solarpunk. I like the idea of banding together and figuring out how to solve our problems. I like thinking that of all the wide range of people I know,  none of them really are assholes, racists, bigots, marmots, or anything else that disqualifies them from being part of Team Human. And the part of me that got massively into Cyberpunk back when the dinosaurs invented it is excited by another geekdom that might point us toward new possibilities the same way that good old Star Trek did.

If you're looking for some reading material, check out "Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation," and "Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers." I've ordered the first one and will probably do a review once I've read it. Until then, stay warm, and be generous with your kindness.