Can we communicate a brighter future? Solarpunk is the answer.
Likely first mentioned in 2008, solarpunk is a utopian expression of a sustainable and environmentally friendly future.
The trend highlights a future where we use solar power to create a more equitable and resilient world. 1Williams, R. (2019). ‘This Shining Confluence of Magic and Technology’: Solarpunk, Energy Imaginaries, and the Infrastructures of Solarity. Open Library of Humanities. … Continue reading
But the trend goes way beyond just solar power.
What is Solarpunk?
Solarpunk is a movement that imagines a future where renewable energy sources are the norm and community-based solutions are used to create a more sustainable and equitable world.
“Solarpunk is a movement in speculative fiction, art, fashion and activism that seeks to answer and embody the question ‘what does a sustainable civilisation 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 wild, 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 warnings. Solutions to live comfortably without fossil fuels, to equitably manage scarcity and share abundance, to be kinder to each other and to the planet we share. At once a vision of the future, a thoughtful provocation, and an achievable lifestyle.”
Source: Medium; Solarpunks 2Springett, J. (2017, February 26). SOLARPUNK: A REFERENCE GUIDE. Medium; Solarpunks. https://medium.com/solarpunks/solarpunk-a-reference-guide-8bcf18871965
Solarpunk: A Summary
Solarpunk is a fascinating and forward-thinking trend that has recently gained considerable attention. Here are 20 interesting facts about Solarpunk:
Solarpunk, with its blend of technology, environmentalism, and optimism, offers a compelling vision of our future if we commit to sustainable practices and technologies.
Solarpunk in Marketing and PR
“Dear Alice” is a solarpunk-inspired Yoghurt commercial with social media acclaim due to its beautiful and positive outlook on our future.
Solarpunk might offer inspiration for other brands thinking about communicating a vision of a future world that isn’t scary.
In contrast to dystopian sci-fi ideas about the future, many publics might long for less bleak visions.
Decentralised and Community-Based
Another essential aspect of solarpunk is that it focuses on creating a more equitable and just society. This means it addresses poverty, access to education and healthcare, and inequality.
For example, a solarpunk community might work to create a community garden that provides fresh produce to people in need or to create a local renewable energy coöperative owned and controlled by the community.
One of the critical principles is that it is a community-based movement rather than one dependent on large corporations or governments. This means that people are encouraged to work together to create small-scale solutions that can have a significant impact.
For example, a community might come together to install solar panels on their homes or to create a small-scale wind farm to power their neighbourhood.
Ultimately, Solarpunk is about creating a future that is not only sustainable but also beautiful and enjoyable to live in. It combines a focus on renewable energy, sustainable technologies, and community-based solutions to create a greener, more equitable world for all.
Solarpunk is not only a movement focused on using renewable energy sources and creating a more sustainable future, but it also has its unique aesthetic.
The solarpunk aesthetic is characterised by a blend of futuristic and retro elements, often incorporating technology such as solar panels and wind turbines with a distinct rustic or handmade feel.
The aesthetic often takes inspiration from the natural world and incorporates elements such as greenery and natural materials into designs. Using bright, vibrant colours and incorporating community-based and DIY elements are typical.
Overall, the Solarpunk aesthetic creates a harmonious balance between technology and nature and promotes a sense of community and self-sufficiency. It is about imagining a future that is not only sustainable but also beautiful and enjoyable to live in.
Examples of Solarpunk Architecture
The movement draws inspiration from various sources, including Art Nouveau, a popular architectural and design movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that emphasised organic forms and natural materials. 4Art Nouveau. (2023, January 14). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Nouveau
While there aren’t many buildings or urban plans that have been explicitly labelled as “solarpunk,” several projects embrace principles and ideas that align with the movement:
Solarpunk in Culture
In literature, the novel Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach is a classic example of solarpunk fiction. It describes a green and sustainable society that is imagined as an alternative to our current way of living. It incorporates decentralised technologies, renewable energy, and sustainable gardening practices. 5Ecotopia. (2022, September 4). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecotopia
Two other notable works are Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation, a collection of short stories by several award-winning authors, and Ecopunk!: Speculative Tales of Radical Futures, an Australian anthology of short stories.
Black Panther’s Wakanda is a prime example of a solarpunk utopia where nature and tech coexist harmoniously. The community praised the film for depicting a future where progress is made, not just discussed. 6Wakanda. (2023, January 10). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wakanda
In fashion, solarpunk clothing often incorporates sustainable materials.
An Unclear Political Alignment
The decentralised community aspect of solarpunk bears the hallmarks of anarchy where the governing and all-powerful state or nation seems nonexistent. 7Keenan, P. (2022). SOLARPUNK CONTRA CAPITALIST REALISM. ГОДИШЊАК ЗА СОЦИОЛОГИЈУ. https://doi.org/10.46630/gsoc.29.2022.06
The utopian solidarity within communities signals a futuristic version of Marxist socialism, but the presence of advanced technology hints at a future dependent on sustainable capitalism and scientific progress.
Solarpunk ideas seem to span the political spectrum from left to right — all at once.
Hardcore climate activists should celebrate the focus on renewable energy and its escape from short-term capitalism and mindless consumption. Still, the focus on science and technology opens the door for a humanistic outlook on societal progress and economic growth. 8As a communication trend, the solarpunk message offers a rare tightrope walk in today’s cancel culture.
A Smart Minority: The Sustainable Future
The benefits of solarpunk are many, but perhaps the most important is that it offers a real solution to the pressing issue of climate change.
With the world on the brink of a climate catastrophe, it is more important than ever to take action to reduce our carbon footprint and create a more sustainable future. Optimists might be a smart minority that is genuinely worth getting behind.
If you’re looking for a brighter future, explore today’s solarpunk trend and envision a brighter future.
|Williams, R. (2019). ‘This Shining Confluence of Magic and Technology’: Solarpunk, Energy Imaginaries, and the Infrastructures of Solarity. Open Library of Humanities. https://doi.org/10.16995/OLH.329|
|Springett, J. (2017, February 26). SOLARPUNK: A REFERENCE GUIDE. Medium; Solarpunks. https://medium.com/solarpunks/solarpunk-a-reference-guide-8bcf18871965|
|Więckowska, K. (2022). Appositions: The Future in Solarpunk and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction. Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture. https://doi.org/10.18778/2083 – 2931.12.21|
|Art Nouveau. (2023, January 14). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Nouveau|
|Ecotopia. (2022, September 4). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecotopia|
|Wakanda. (2023, January 10). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wakanda|
|Keenan, P. (2022). SOLARPUNK CONTRA CAPITALIST REALISM. ГОДИШЊАК ЗА СОЦИОЛОГИЈУ. https://doi.org/10.46630/gsoc.29.2022.06|
|As a communication trend, the solarpunk message offers a rare tightrope walk in today’s cancel culture.|