In the 1960’s, Tim Leary said “turn on, tune in, drop out.” Ken Kesey, by contrast, said, take all the craziness, madness, and glitz and make something better from it. Kesey was right. So is solarpunk. Screw despair, dystopia, and dropping out.
Which is not to say that things can’t be dystopian now, only that a better future is imaginable and can be created. In fact, that’s the task at hand. More than anything, despair and cynicism need to be avoided, because they kill dreams and hope.
Solarpunk, a new movement in SF that examines the possibility of a future in which currently emerging movements in society and culture such as the green movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, and certain aspects of Occupy Wall Street coalesce to create a more optimistic future in a more just world. In the words of Sir Isaac Newton, however: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Like Newton, the solarpunk movement stands on the shoulders of giants—giants of science fiction.”
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 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.