(The article below is from: https://www.re-des.org/a-solarpunk-manifesto/)
Many people have written about Solarpunk during the last 10+ years. Mostly after 2014.
The genre is not yet clearly defined.
This Solarpunk Manifesto is a creative re-adaptation of ideas about solarpunk written by many people. These ideas can be mainly found in Solarpunk: a reference guide which can be found here and in Solarpunk: Notes towards a Manifesto by Adam Flynn, which can be found here.
A Solarpunk Manifesto
Solarpunk is a movement in speculative fiction, art, fashion, and activism that seeks to answer and embody the question “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?”
The aesthetics of solarpunk merge the practical with the beautiful, the well-designed with the green and lush, the bright and colorful with the earthy and solid.
Solarpunk can be utopian, just optimistic, or concerned with the struggles en route to a better world , but never dystopian. As our world roils with calamity, we need solutions, not only warnings.
Solutions to thrive without fossil fuels, to equitably manage real scarcity and share in abundance instead of supporting false scarcity and false abundance, to be kinder to each other and to the planet we share.
Solarpunk is at once a vision of the future, a thoughtful provocation, a way of living and a set of achievable proposals to get there.
- We are solarpunks because optimism has been taken away from us and we are trying to take it back.
- We are solarpunks because the only other options are denial or despair.
- At its core, Solarpunk is a vision of a future that embodies the best of what humanity can achieve: a post-scarcity, post-hierarchy, post-capitalistic world where humanity sees itself as part of nature and clean energy replaces fossil fuels.
- The “punk” in Solarpunk is about rebellion, counterculture, post-capitalism, decolonialism and enthusiasm. It is about going in a different direction than the mainstream, which is increasingly going in a scary direction.
- Solarpunk is a movement as much as it is a genre: it is not just about the stories, it is also about how we can get there.
- Solarpunk embraces a diversity of tactics: there is no single right way to do solarpunk. Instead, diverse communities from around the world adopt the name and the ideas, and build little nests of self-sustaining revolution.
- Solarpunk provides a valuable new perspective, a paradigm and a vocabulary through which to describe one possible future. Instead of embracing retrofuturism, solarpunk looks completely to the future. Not an alternative future, but a possible future.
- Our futurism is not nihilistic like cyberpunk and it avoids steampunk’s potentially quasi-reactionary tendencies: it is about ingenuity, generativity, independence, and community.
- Solarpunk emphasizes environmental sustainability and social justice.
- Solarpunk is about finding ways to make life more wonderful for us right now, and also for the generations that follow us.
- Our future must involve repurposing and creating new things from what we already have. Imagine “smart cities” being junked in favor of smart citizenry.
- Solarpunk recognizes the historical influence politics and science fiction have had on each other.
- Solarpunk recognizes science fiction as not just entertainment but as a form of activism.
- Solarpunk wants to counter the scenarios of a dying earth, an insuperable gap between rich and poor, and a society controlled by corporations. Not in hundreds of years, but within reach.
- Solarpunk is about youth maker culture, local solutions, local energy grids, ways of creating autonomous functioning systems. It is about loving the world.
- Solarpunk culture includes all cultures, religions, abilities, sexes, genders and sexual identities.
- Solarpunk is the idea of humanity achieving a social evolution that embraces not just mere tolerance, but a more expansive compassion and acceptance.
- The visual aesthetics of Solarpunk are open and evolving. As it stands, it is a mash-up of the following:
- 1800s age-of-sail/frontier living (but with more bicycles)
- Creative reuse of existing infrastructure (sometimes post-apocalyptic, sometimes present-weird)
- Appropriate technology
- Art Nouveau
- Hayao Miyazaki
- Jugaad-style innovation from the non-Western world
- High-tech backends with simple, elegant outputs
- Solarpunk is set in a future built according to principles of New Urbanism or New Pedestrianism and environmental sustainability.
- Solarpunk envisions a built environment creatively adapted for solar gain, amongst other things, using different technologies. The objective is to promote self sufficiency and living within natural limits.
- In Solarpunk we’ve pulled back just in time to stop the slow destruction of our planet. We’ve learned to use science wisely, for the betterment of our life conditions as part of our planet. We’re no longer overlords. We’re caretakers. We’re gardeners.
- is diverse
- has room for spirituality and science to coexist
- is beautiful
- can happen. Now
The Solarpunk Community
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The Sung Home trilogy is a story within the Solarpunk sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy. This video gives a comprehensive overview of the Solarpunk perspective.
Why This? Why Now?
If I had someone special in my life I wouldn’t have written Sung Home. If I had a boyfriend, instead of writing I would have gone camping in the Gila a lot more. Checking off the sections of the Kama Sutra. Or so I like to imagine.
So I was sitting at home with my cats, Katniss and Kali, watching the news and feeling overwhelmed by how bad things are. Not a feeling of impending or looming apocalypse but a knowing that the apocalypse is happening right now. I felt so much grief at what we are losing. And the knowledge that we ourselves have caused this.
This sensation of heaviness drove me to my bed in the middle of a clear, gorgeous, New Mexican fall day. I curled up on my bed and longed for a better way of life, a fresh start for humanity. I tried to imagine what such a start might look like, and what we might do with that fresh start in the Gila region of southwest New Mexico, where I live.
How would that fresh start happen, I wondered. Well, first of all we’d have to reduce the population a bunch, I imagined. Clear the slate a bit, as it were. I thought about who might have survived this population reduction, where they might be, what would they be doing, what would life be like. And that’s how Lakshmi Boykin was born. A 16-year old woman, a captive in a warlord’s compound. Driven to find a better way of life by a tragedy more personal than the extremely virulent scouring of humanity from the planet that had happened seven years before our story begins.
Where would she go? Maybe to her grandmother’s house deep in the Gila forest, a place of fecund beauty and community. How would she get there? I wondered. I remembered a book I read many years ago, called Songlines, by Bruce Chatwin. That book is about the system of maps created by Australian Aboriginals and transmitted by oral tradition down countless generations via songs, the songlines. Lakshmi’s mother, now dead at the beginning of the story, had sung her a song when she was a child, over and over, that would take her to her grandmother’s house. That’s where Lakshmi would go, and how she would get there.
As the story developed, I started writing it all down because it was too much to hold in my head.
As I wrote about Lakshmi’s journey I realized that the apocalypse isn’t the only thing happening, right now. Countless people all over the world are actively generating a better way to be on the planet, including previously unimaginable forms of energy, transportation and food production. And we have ways that have been with us for thousands of years, like water harvesting that works with the land and water, not against it, and the gentle cultivation of wild food sheds, so different from the Totalitarian agriculture that is destroying, water, soil, habitat and health. Building materials and techniques that keep people warm enough but not too warm, without the need for fossil fuels to heat or cool. Countless human cultures have lived successfully on the earth for hundreds of thousands of years without threatening the entire biosphere, so of course we know how to do that.
Sung Home is post-apocalyptic, but it is neither dystopian or utopian. It is an imagining of one of the countless possibilities we could create, the new rising from the ashes of the old.
I hope you’ll check out the story, and let me know what you think about it.
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Ra Paulette’s caves, carved in New Mexico’s sandstone hills, served as the inspiration for the cave homes in Sung Home.
You can learn more about Ra and his cave creation process here: