What is Solarpunk?

Part I

“Solarpunk is better characterized as a kaleidoscopic manifesto, an argument in story and image, the song of a community both inchoate and coalescing, simultaneously committed and finding its feet… Here’s to the light”

~Rhys Williams
what is solarpunk

What is the song of a community that seeks to live within its means and in harmony with nature? What is the highest vision we are capable of bringing forth? What is the most beautiful story we could write about humanity?

Envision a world where we live in service to the planet and the well-being of our communities. Every person has a unique role. Each being has a gift and offering to the world that sustains and nourishes them with energy and resources to accomplish their mission.

Imagine a world in which humans and nature are flourishing and thriving. In this vision, we live in a symbiotic alliance that honors and respects our relationship with nature and each other.

Welcome to the world of solarpunk!

Solarpunk can be seen as a dynamic grassroots movement of writers, artists, environmentalists, engineers, creatives, scientists, systems-change leaders, activists, Earth protectors, and lovers of nature. A decentralized yet inter-connected mycelial web of stewards of the planet. Evolving together as the world moves through this planetary transition.

According to Jay Springett, a long-time steward of the movement, Solarpunk aims to cancel the apocalypse:

“Refuse rebooted and reheated stories and visions of the future that pervade our media culture.

And Talk loudly about the ones you DO want to see. What they look like, how they make you feel.

Write stories, Make Art,  and music about them. Because we can’t manifest what we don’t share.”

~Jay Springett

Solarpunk actively resists definitions so there can be space for exploration and creativity as we build a brighter, healthier future in community and through collaboration.

Solarpunk’s values are rooted in ecological responsibility, sustainability, practicality, ingenuity, independence, regeneration, diversity, active hope, self-governance, social justice, community care, collaborative social ideas, and so much more!

According to Andrewism, who has integrated some of these values in visual form through his solarpunk videos on YouTube, solarpunk is concerned with ecological well-being and human well-being and it is dedicated to going beyond the limitations of capitalism and the current rift between humanity and nature. Andrewism has shared about Solarpunk Solutions and has addressed some critiques of the solarpunk movement.

“We are solarpunks because the only other options are denial or despair”.

~Adam Flynn

The first mentions of solarpunk trace back to 2008 when the post titled “From Steampunk to Solarpunk” proposed a new literary genre inspired by the science fiction genre called Steampunk.

Solarpunk became more widely recognized in 2014 thanks to a Tumbler post by Miss Olivia Louise, the artist who suggested new aesthetic ideas to make solarpunk a plausible near-future sci-fi genre blended with art. Miss Olivia Louise proposed:

“Natural colors!
Art Nouveau!
Handcrafted wares!
Tailors and dressmakers!
Streetcars!
Airships!
Stained glass window solar panels!!!
Education in tech and food growing!
Less corporate capitalism, and more small businesses!
Solar rooftops and roadways!
Communal greenhouses on top of apartments!
Electric cars with old-fashioned looks!
No-cars-allowed walkways lined with independent shops!
Renewable energy-powered Art Nouveau-styled tech life!”

Miss Olivia’s post went viral and solarpunk quickly grew into a luscious fusion of literature, art, and activism.

The Solarpunk Manifesto published in 2019 is a creative re-adaptation of ideas about solarpunk written by many people.

The Systems Change Club on Clubhouse is a great resource to follow if you are more of an auditory learner. Join one of the regular solarpunk rooms to learn and contribute as we explore ways to reach aspirational, realistic futures via systems change.

There is a comprehensive Solarpunk Reference Guide and more resources by Solarpunk Station. The community also has a Solarpunk Magazine and a Solarpunk Zine.

Listen to the latest episode of Talking with Green Teachers Podcast on eco-anxiety and solarpunk:

Green Teacher

Solarpunk is not about denial or naive optimism. We are highly aware of the urgent, global challenges we face, but solarpunk is about hope in action. It is about refusing to give up and taking matters into our own hands to actively create the future we do want. That’s the “punk” in solarpunk.

What’s the alternative? We are on the brink of evolution or extinction. Let’s reach higher. Let’s rewrite the story of humanity and create a world all generations deserve. Let’s use all we have to speak it into existence.

Join this collective re-evolution! What is your role in this solarpunk future?

Learn about the Solarpunk Art Contest and help create art to be part of this experiment in collective visioning and creation!

Follow Solarpunk Generation and stay tuned for the upcoming solarpunk podcast, workshops, and immersive events to promote the healing of our planet and communities.

About Day

Day Sanchez is a bilingual school psychologist, education specialist, and Emotional Intelligence (EQ) facilitator dedicated to supporting the optimal cognitive, creative, spiritual, and social-emotional development of gifted, twice-exceptional (2e), and highly sensitive children and youth. She has over a decade of experience working with gifted and neurodivergent children in public and private schools, nonprofits, and online worldwide.

She creates programs and resources to support children, youth, and families experiencing eco-anxiety and other eco-emotions. Solarpunk Generation was born to help bring the Solarpunk movement to families and the neurodiverse community to create a positive shift in the collective narrative and build a new way forward. Day is on a mission to inspire all children and young visionaries to embody their highest potential, contribute their gifts to the world, and help us accelerate humanity’s evolution.

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