What is Solarpunk?

Solarpunk is the newest genre of science fiction, a joyous and optimistic vision of a future where humans and our technology live in balance with nature. Solarpunk is an artistic, cultural and political movement that encompasses the arts, architecture, fashion and technology.

But optimistic visions of the future are never all that they seem. From HG Wells’ The Shape of Things to Come, to Ursula Le Guin’s Always Coming Home, one science fiction author’s vision of a bright utopia is another’s grim dystopia. Can Solarpunk envision a utopia for all?

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Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

One thought on “What is Solarpunk?

  1. Thank you for this thoughtful and highly enjoyable critique of Solarpunk.

    Without wanting to indulge in wordplay, rather than “utopian” I like to think of Solarpunk as “anti-dystopian”. In that seemingly unnecessary double-negative, there is the opportunity to avoid the dangers of imposition of a single set of of utopian idea(l)s and the horrors that we have seen historically of such attempts.

    Perhaps Solarpunk stands against dystopia analogous to the way that science approaches truth asymptomatically by the removal of error, so that our best theories are those that have survived criticism but have not yet been proven false, as per Karl Popper & David Deutsch.

    Likewise, a Solarpunk society of the future would be one of continuous problem solving, inclusiveness, constructive criticism constantly guarding and adjusting against possible dystopian futures.

    The aesthetics we see as representative of Solarpunk seem in line with this.

    Anyway, thank you again for this podcast, much to think about!

    All the best,
    Bernard.

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