Welcome to the movement of the future:
It is a movement here and now working away in the Sid Valley:
It is a movement for hope:
The yellow of the flag represents the solar power portion of the solarpunk movement, and the green represents sustainability. The half-gear symbolizes a reclaiming of technology for sustainable projects and infrastructure, and the sunbeams represent the hopefulness and futurism of the solarpunk movement. The solarpunk movement seeks to answer the question “what does a sustainable society look like” by taking any and all good and accessible technologies and lifestyles and making them widespread. It is a form of resistance through infrastructure and activism, and it is also a derivative of the broader term “hopepunk”. Solarpunks refuse to give up to the idea that we are ecologically doomed.
It is an aesthetic movement:
A quick search on Google images reveals the diverse beauty of the solarpunk ideal: vivid green vines draped over a Shanghai skyline or an Italian villa, the soft bubble shapes popular with American architects and the bright geometric patterns inspired by Afrofuturism. Believers in solarpunk practise stunning handicrafts and preach new technological developments, bringing the best of old and new technologies together. Rather than focus on single strands of development as the saving of the planet, solarpunk blends ideas from dozens of sources into a vision of practical utopianism.
It is a movement which looks to the past and to the future for inspiration:
Solarpunk seeks to cultivate a positive, hopeful, vision of a future rooted in technologies and culture of sustainability, yet in the context of what it acknowledges will be dramatic changes in our way of life due to Global Warming and the environmental malfeasance of the past, the transition to a renewables-based infrastructure, and the collapse of Industrial Age paradigms. A culture that has weathered the dramatic disruptions coming with the end of the Industrial Age, taken its sometimes bitter lessons from that, and found a way forward.
What makes Solarpunk ‘punk’ is an underlying activist/revolutionary narrative it shares with the earlier punk movements tracing its origins to the narrative of one of Science Fiction’s earliest ‘antiheroes’; Captain Nemo of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea…
It is a pragmatic and proactive movement: it asks ‘what can we do right now’ and then does whatever that is:
“Solarpunk is the first creative movement consciously and positively responding to the Anthropocene. When no place on Earth is free from humanity’s hedonism, Solarpunk proposes that humans can learn to live in harmony with the planet once again.”
It can be an intensely political movement:
Something new, bright and promising stirs on Tumblr, a colorful fungus growing away from the gaze of the media or the big web stacks. I struggle to put my finger on just why solarpunk is so compelling, but it is. Perhaps it is the canny optimism, so out of place in a world of crisis. Perhaps because it is because solarpunk is a creature wholly of this decade — native to global network society. I know I’m not the only one to think this: something about solarpunk strikes a chord that stands out amidst the pandemonium.
What is solarpunk? I hesitate to define it, and therefore limit it, for the thousands now exploring its possibilities. Let’s tentatively call it a speculative movement: a collaborative effort to imagine and design a world of prosperity, peace, sustainability and beauty, achievable with what we have from where we are. Only in the twenty-teens could a series of social media sketches spark such an ambitious activist agenda — not to mention a literary genre that has rabid fans but has yet to produce any literature.
Whatever solarpunk is, it is deeply political. Politics is the practice of determining the arrangements through which we distribute resources and otherwise relate to each other. In other words, who makes the stuff, who gets the stuff, and how we are expected to treat both people and stuff.