Solarpunk midterm for Philosophy of Happiness

This is my Philosophy of Happiness midterm. It's about Solarpunk. I wrote big chunks of it this morning before turning it in (extremely late), so I don't feel too guilty about not writing about it a ton here. Especially since it's 11:15. (I did just get the notification that it's been the requisite 2 months since the last time I skipped a day, but I figure I should save that for later. Also, I'm thinking about revising the skip rules and I want to do that before I skip any more.)

Philosophy Bites: Meira Levinson on the Aims of Education

This episode of Philosophy Bites is about the philosophical goals of education -- the guest, Meira Levinson, has taught in public schools in Atlanta and Boston, often working with children of color living in poverty. Near the end of the podcast, she raises a problem with the educational narrative taught to these children about escaping poverty:

Insofar as my aim was to help each of my students achieve power over their lives, I also had to help the achieve power as a collective. ... We could not establish a goal of having each individual child escape his or her circumstances -- that that was a profoundly limiting goal, because it meant ... that the child was taught that in order to succeed, he or she had to leave his or her community behind. And so that experience transformed my thinking from just thinking about the individual to how I could help young people learn to work together to transform the communities in which they lived.

I answered a question a while ago about what Solarpunk education would be like -- my answer was basically the long-form version of “I don’t know.”  But this seems like a vivid example: Solarpunk education is about teaching kids about community, support, and building resistance to systematic adversity; it rejects the narrative that the oppressed should seek to relieve their suffering by pursuing unlikely accomplishments with the intent to leave their community behind them.

I can only talk so much on this topic, being a white person who grew up in a suburb, before I’m pretty hugely out of my depth, but I wanted to bring this podcast, and this idea, into the conversation.

(Philosophy Bites is a podcast featuring 15-20 minute interviews with contemporary philosophers dipping into very specific questions. I think it’s really accessible, if you’re looking to check out a philosophy podcast.)

Solarpunk fashion; fantasy; function

(Originally published on my Solarpunk Tumblr) Tumblr user kdhume just recently posted a finished Solarpunk umbrella, which is very cool looking, and made me think about one of the things that's very present in Steampunk, that I expect will be present in Solarpunk, and the ideological subtleties that might come up: pseudo-functional accessories.

In Steampunk, it's totally normal and common to add a genre-fashionable flair to an otherwise normal object by sticking some gears on it or using brass with a patina instead of steel. It goes farther than that, but as it does it only makes my point more and more: arm bands with computer arrays that, hypothetically, run on steam and gearboxes, but, actually, don't run at all.

Because the major narrative feature is there, at least in concept: It runs on steam.

And that's totally plausible -- like, nobody has much of a problem with agreeing that, on level, steampunks are allowed to pretend pretty much anything can and does run on steam.

In Solarpunk, it's not hard to see the parallel. Stuff runs on renewable energy. The basic narrative assumption is that things are carbon neutral or negative, that they rely on ethically sourced materials and alternative energy supplies, that they are the end product of a design process that seriously considered "Is the energy and material cost of this object worth the value added to the lives of its users and community and world?"

In real life, that stuff won't be. In real life, the test tube bio-luminescent algae lamps that shine bright and consume excess carbon in the air are actually just going to be plastic tubes stuffed with LEDs running on a watch battery tucked into your hat. Or something.

It's super common to look at people trying to envision and build a better future and pick it apart -- to look at it and say "There are a dozen awful things wrong with this. Do you know how environmentally damaging battery production is? Solar panels are causing a lot of roof damage. Most of that charity's money is spent on overhead, anyway." And sometimes those criticisms are legitimate, and sometimes they aren't, and in either case often they're coming from somebody scrambling for a reason not to think hard about the way they're doing things already.

And I just kind of wanted to get ahead of the cynical backlash and accusations of hypocrisy and say that it’s fine for Solarpunk stuff to not work.

Steampunk shows off often non-functional tech depicting a romanticized past. Solarpunk is going to show off often non-functional tech depicting an aspirational future. I'd like my test tube algae lamps better if they really were bio-engineered to be carbon negative, but I like them well enough while they're plastic tubes stuffed with LEDs that give me a great excuse to talk about environmental science. (Disclosure: I haven't actually made either version of this costume element.)

As far as costume props go, our cool stuff doesn't have to work, it just has to demonstrate a belief in, and desire for, the world in which it does.

Commentary on blame for systemic problems in solarpunk

Reposting from my Solarpunk blog, a comment on a Tumblr post linking to a story about the harm of sedentary office jobs:


Office workers need to get off their backsides and move around more, according to a new campaign.

capitalism will kill you and blame you for dying

Reblogging for that comment. Solarpunk (as I see it) acknowledges the many subtle harms of the civilization we live in, but it also takes into account the realities of circumstance that put people in the position of suffering, or causing, those harms.

Some solarpunks might be upper-middle-class folks who can afford to make make a lot of careful choices, some solarpunks might be homeless, jobless folks who have no options other than the counterculture community that will take them in. And folks anywhere along the economic spectrum could take up any degree of interest.

But for those who don’t — for those who work for harmful systems, who suffer harm because they engage with those systems — solarpunk as I see it knows who to blame, and it isn’t those people who suffer harm because they suffer from limited options.

Solarpunk Occupy

A mental image of a specific solarpunk narrative is starting to come together in my mind, and I think now's about the right time to share a little of it. (No, not just because my last several blog posts have been incredibly banal. .. Okay, yes, because of that.) I'm imagining Occupy Wall Street, or something like it, taking over Zucotti Park, or someplace like it, again in the summer of 2015. The story takes place about two years later, when New York authorities have sort of given up on trying to uproot the encampment: with the rapid installation of new infrastructure the encampment can withstand a literal siege, and so far the government has stopped short of literal massacre.

mini-encampments form around tentpole locations: the library, the tech tent, the aquaponics lab; these encampments are adhocracies, and fluidly engage with the other encampments and with groups who take a collective interest in residents who are not part of an adhocracy.

They get all their power from solar. They get a surprising share of their food from aquaponics and high-density farming.

And that's about where my thoughts have run out so far. I still need an actual story before I can start writing, but I'm pretty happy about this vision of a setting.

slightly less failed solarpunk knowledge mapping

  So, I'm beginning to get a better idea of the spaces that need expanding in Solarpunk. Turns out, it's a lot easier to expand the "Problems that exist" end than the "Hypothetical solutions" end.

Also: the people who make Scrivener also make a chart program, which was a surprise. Untitled-1

Education in Solarpunk

Reposted from my Solarpunk Tumblr, which gets priority posting on my solarpunk writing: Hey, I wanted to ask what would education in a solarpunk world look like?

- ppan678

I’m more interested in a very-near-future understanding of Solarpunk that still takes place within pretty much the system as we know it, so I’m going to start with that timescale and move forward into the future. I’m also going to center my answer on America, because that’s where I live and where I write about, so this may be only varyingly applicable to you or your work:

Starting with pretty-much-now, solarpunks are living in a system with an inadequate and often destructive education apparatus that systematically traumatizes most participants and often routinely mis-educates them. Teen solarpunks — like, the protaganists of a solarpunk YA novel — might consider dropping out, or they might be working double-time on their education to teach themselves valuable skills and theory in their free time while maintaining their position in the education system in order to avoid the consequent loss of status in the larger society. Post-high-school, I tend to imagine that education would be important — there’d probably be a lot of non-graduation-track community college attendance, participation in MOOCs, and interpersonal collaborative learning efforts. I’d like to imagine that one of the first community spaces a solarpunk group would establish would contain a library.

The next timescale can double as both a description of possibilities for a 10-30 year future, and as positions for solarpunk as a political movement. (That does raise the question, though: is solarpunk a holistic political movement that proposes an answer to every social question? Or is it task-specific?)

An end to common core: One of the first priorities needs to be the end of national-scale micromanaging of schools. It routinely makes teachers’ jobs difficult or impossible. Ending or severely abridging standardized testing, or at least the relationship between standardized testing and funding, is also important. Also, all-around increased funding for schools everywhere is important. Solarpunk would push for education reform, but I envision it doing that by breaking down federal and state micromanaging of education and increasing community involvement in schools.

Honestly, though, education is extremely important but it’s not a first-order social problem — by which I mean America has other problems that need to be solved in order to solve education problems. We need a basic income and an increase in the minimum wage, because people in poverty need to be able to work a small enough portion of their time to be involved in the school system of their community. (Seriously, though — that’s such a big deal. People need to be able to work 40 or fewer hours a week and have enough money, because otherwise they just can’t be involved in their communities. That failure perpetuates systematic inequality via PTA.)

As we move further into the future, I start to see it as less solarpunk, since if a revolutionary movement is completely effective it kinda stops being ‘punk’ and starts being the system. But in a post-solarpunk and/or solar-utopian world:

The education system would be fluid, publicly funded and lifelong. It would be normal for people to always be enrolled in one or two classes. This would be a world that is post- or semi-post employment, so the education system wouldn’t need to optimize for filling gaps in job markets, the way public education did in the early 20th century and college does now. (Public education’s still optimizing for job gaps in the cold war.) Formats for classes would vary wildly but I tend to imagine they’d still be group endeavors on the part of the students (since without the structure of employment we need new social organizations for routinely interacting with other humans.)

P.S. I got this question by fanmail, which reminded me that I never put a link to my ask box up. It’s there now.

So-far failed solarpunk knowledge mapping

  I've tried a few times now to sketch out a knowledge map of solarpunk, so that I can identify the areas where I don't understand or have clear ideas about important connections. The first time, I noticed there was a ton of connection surrounding art and postmodernism, but barely any surrounding renewable energy. So, this time, I started with renewable energy in the middle.

Here's what I got:solarpunk


So, eh. Better than last time, but no obvious new information is leaping out at me.

I decided to try mapping a more clearly established genre -- steampunk -- to see if I could spot connections that might be mirrored in solarpunk.


(The word connecting "Imperialist capitalism" and "Mass production" that got cut off is "supports," and "Comprises" was a really bad word choice to connect "Steampunk" and "Fantasy sci fi")

So, that wasn't especially helpful. It highlighted a lot of the inherent contradictions of steampunk, but that doesn't really matter because steampunk isn't meant to be a plausible genre.

Then --

I realized it was almost midnight and I hadn't blogged yet, so I snapped some photos of my notes and wrote them up.

Solarpunk's genre

Sci Fi and Fantasy stories very rarely fall just into those labels for categories. Really, they're usually descriptions of a setting -- there's such a thing as a sci fi story that's really all sci fi and nothing else, and I think there's probably such a thing as a fantasy novel that's just fantasy. But that's not common. What happens more often is subgenres of SF/F become the setting-side of a descriptor, where another genre label becomes the plot-side.

For example, steampunk is mostly adventure novels. Urban Fantasy is mostly pulp detective fiction, and in a closely related boat paranormal romance is sort of Urban-Fantasy-Shelved-Elsewhere.

I'm not sure that's even true of the actual majority of the works in these genres. But they are definitely recognizable by their correspondence.

So -- what's the corresponding genre to Solarpunk?

Is it back to pure SF? Speculating on new technologies and running through their implications?

Is it a techno version of Urban Fantasy?

Is it adventure?

Government procedural?

I have no idea.

I have seven Wikipedia pages open right now, and I'm going to start putting together a brainstorming document. I am eagerly open to input from anybody else who's looking to start writing Solarpunk. What kind of story captures the spirit of this milieu?

Isolation and connectivity in Solarpunk

In my idea of a solarpunk future, there's no single right way to do solarpunk. Instead, diverse communities from around the world adopt the name, ideas, or both, and build little nests of self-sustaining revolution tailored to meet the needs of their revolutionaries and specifically target and combat the worst effects of exploitative modernity in their immediate environment. Maybe in Las Vegas that means optimizing efficient use of water, while in New York the top priority is developing institutional solutions to homelessness. That model for solarpunk communities involves a lot of isolation -- and I think that's a good thing, because it puts up resistance against the impulse to try and build a single, coherent, all-encompassing movement that tries to solve all the world's problems all together and at once -- an endeavor that usually results in genocide.

But it also requires connectivity, and working with alternate models for connections that emerge outside modernist, hierarchical institutions could be a big part of building a solarpunk movement, or constellation of movements.

Speaking of which, take this tree:



From the Tumblr post on which I found it:

Solar trees are taking root around the world Sologic’s sustainable eTree provides free electricity, free WiFi and even cool water for you and your pet. Plus, each eTree connects to other eTrees, allowing people across the world to video chat.

It gets water from the city plumbing it's connected to, but in development they did get it to pull water from the air.

This tree, or things like it, represent a kind of solarpunk project I hadn't thought about before -- one not grounded in a specific geographical space, but in a specific technology or endeavor that could help seed, expand or interconnect localized solarpunk communities.

Attempting practical application of solarpunk thoughts

I was thinking today about what I said in my Solarpunk Thoughts -- Accessiblilty post, about fonts like OpenDyslexic. And since I'm in my school's newsroom, and have access to InDesign, I did a little experimenting. The first experiment I don't have a picture for, but I made a sheet of all the characters from OpenDyslexic, grayed out, and went over them with pen, trying to add an Art Nouveau feel while still keeping the proportions and weights as close to the original as possible. It looks really possible! I hope adding mild serifs to them doesn't strongly undermine their functionality. But I think I'm going to need to look more into how fonts get made in order to make something functional with it.

The second experiment had less to do with Solarpunk, but I think would still be pretty relevant -- I wanted to see how OpenDyslexic would look in place of Times New Roman as the text block in my school's paper.opendyslexic-test


(Text is from the Wikipedia page on Batman, as of 2014-11-14.)

It seems to me to be a lot more readable, but it definitely loses something of the aesthetic conventions of a newspaper. And, I mean, I'd be cool with dismantling those, but part of the point of a student newspaper is teaching design to the staff, and while I don't think teaching readability is teaching design wrong, re-doing the paper in OpenDyslexic might make the transition into careers difficult for some of our staff.

So! My next step is going to be research into whether there are any organizations that provide guidelines on, or can give me an idea of, how to set up a more traditional looking text block in a way that is maximally readable to people with dyslexia or who otherwise have difficulty with mainstream design.

(Feel free to let me know if you know of any such guidelines, because I have to leave for work now.)

The extension didn't work

I gave myself an extra week to work on the third Solarpunk story, "Water," and I didn't use it. I am still pretty close to exactly as behind on that story today as I was when I wrote the previous extension post. I'm not really sure what to do with this, actually. I'm not going to beat myself up about it, because a big part of the reason I didn't work on it was because I've been feeling a lot of stress and anxiety lately, so I'm pretty sure worrying about the fact I didn't do a thing I didn't do isn't going to get me anywhere good. But I don't know if I should just let myself off the hook for it, either.

I've been letting myself off the hook for a lot lately, and I think that's probably a good thing because I used to beat the emotional shit out of myself all the time and it represents a pretty big psychological progress point that I don't do that quite so often anymore. But there has to come a point eventually where I've gone too far in that direction. The more slack I give myself, the more time I spend playing Minecraft, and the dimmer my hope for the future I really want for myself becomes. (Again: to a point. Pushing myself as hard as I did when I was 19 is more likely to push me into an institution or a grave than into a book deal.)

The extension was an experiment in slack, and now that it hasn't worked, I don't know where to go, with regards to that story set. Should I drop it? Having lost the thread, I feel a great barrier to picking it up again and I think there are other stories I could start more easily. I would like to let Solarpunk cook in my head a little longer before I try and write another story. The first two didn't have the genre baked in quite with the intensity I had hoped.

Or should I force myself back in? Writing's not just about being inspired. Sometimes it's work, and I've heard at least half of my favorite writers say that some of their favorite works have been the chunks of projects that they were forcing themselves through, and figured at the time they were just going to throw away. It's my understanding that you can't tell in the moment what's good and what's bad. And I don't want to lose the thread on Solarpunk altogether, which could happen.

In the spirit of indeterminacy, I don't really know how to end this post, either. So... er, fun tip for American chromebook users: if you leave your keyboard set to US International mode and you're having trouble with your apostrophe key, that's something the mode does. Switch it back to plain US and that key will work the way you expect it to, again. And question for international keyboard users: what's the deal with the way the apostrophe was behaving?

Updates: Minecraft and Fiction

Today was a very busy day at work, then in the afternoon I had to go to my parents' house and clean some stuff up, so when I got home tonight I just wanted to relax and play video games. So I did that, and forgot that I still had to blog and work on my fiction. So! Today's post is going to be another update, in the vein of last Friday and Monday's posts.

Crash Landing : I am on attempt number eight

And I am happy to report that, as I recently found out, it's possible to build a cheap generator! I've been picking the easy mode since, I think, attempt number 4, and that mode comes with a sync-thingy -- for a kind of huge amount of power, it very slowly builds another copy of your avatar, so you get one extra life -- if you die you get shot back to the sync body.

In play-through eight, I have died once, of starvation and thirst. I was pretty close to a sustainable food system, so with the full thirst and hunger bars of the synced avatar, I was able to build up a store of supplies.

But then I was out of electricity, and couldn't build a new sync. So I figured I was pretty much screwed.

I did some googling, though, earlier, and I found a generator (the Extra Utilities Survivalist Generator) that generates power extremely slowly, but within my budget, and that I could afford to build. So now I just can't die twice within the same ten minutes or so, and I'll be fine.

Solarpunk short stories : I am on story number two, the one about fire

I knew pretty well what the plot of story one was going to be in this series. Number two, though, I am significantly more lost.

This is turning out to be a really good thing! Because my character is just wandering around the village (purposefully, but that's beside the point) so I get to describe, and thereby develop, all sorts of details about the place and other characters in it. Like -- there are a couple of girls in the lab who, using some kind of brass alloy and pattern generating systems, and a plasma cutter, they've made panels for the second-story catwalk that each have a unique floral pattern cut into them to minimize their weight, without substantially compromising their supportiveness.

I'm going to go work on that story now. 'Night.

Short stories: a progress update

So. Story #1 may not get its second draft until after these four weeks are up. It's pretty close to done, but it doesn't really have any strong solarpunk elements. Like, the plot of this story is basically "Protaganist gets kicked out of home, walks for a very long time, then arrives at the solarpunk village," but once there, the story's pretty much over. I'm going to have em get a tour to give an idea of what, exactly, the resolution e has come to is, but that's not the depth I want to get into.

So I'm thinking these 4 stories are going to have to come together as a single, coherent piece -- because I don't want to spend another whole story establishing the place's existence, so I think I'm just going to jump over to another character and tell their story for a while. It'll be like Bordertown, but with genderqueer kids with magic powers doing cool things with renewable energy.

Solarpunk -- implementation

Solarpunk neighborhood This illustration represents a profound act of procrastination, having taken up nearly all of my Saturday evening, when I had a substantial pile of work I definitely ought to have been doing instead. (Including, but not limited to, actually getting some work done on the short story set in the city this illustration depicts.)

I'm working on building some solarpunk into the present-day-ish setting I'm already using. It's an urban fantasy setting, and the majority of my worldbuilding has gone into a place called Victory City (V.C.) -- a city with a history that sets it up to be profoundly hostile to the needs of citizens who don't fit its founder's idea of 'useful.'

I'm excited about bringing solarpunk into this setting, not because it fits neatly, but exactly because it's such a radical separation from the nature of the setting. I think solarpunk is going to fit well in V.C., or at least the small bastion of a solarpunk community partially pictured above, because for the people who'd be investing in this kind of movement, the city very badly needs it.

I keep talking about accessibility as a solarpunk value. In Victory City, all the buildings constructed before 1960 are raised off the ground by a full story. If you can't use stairs, you can't use most of the city. So in the solarpunk village, they've bricked- or walled-in all the first floors, maintained the elevators they have and put in new ones where they can, and built a second floor to the outside of the neighborhood, too -- so everybody can get to all the buildings, even the ones that are completely blocked off in isolation.

Speaking of access, though, there's another aspect of that here: restricting access. The people in this community (for which I should really come up with a name) have erected false building sections to wall off the alleyways and streets that used to lead into their area. They can be opened up, but are not freely traversable. The point of that is so the marginalized citizens of [the village] aren't limited and threatened by the free movement of oppressors through their space, the way they are everywhere else in V.C.

I had the thought while I was working on this picture, too, that they might be deliberately creating inconsistent design themes, using technology and plant growth in conventionally ugly ways, to keep the property values down -- so their community building doesn't trigger gentrification and end up pushing them all farther out than they were before. I don't actually know much about the mechanics of gentrification, though, so I don't know if that would work or how.

(I know there ought to be a railing on the walkway in front of the second floor, but I worked so hard on the picture I was scared I was going to ruin it drawing in rails and bars across the middle. For the same reason, it's also not painted, despite that being the original plan.)

New writing project: 4 Solarpunk stories

(Reposted from Tumblr last night because I've been reposting solarpunk stuff here but also because I feel like stating my writing commitments here makes them more real) So, workshop application season is coming up and I spent the last couple months working on a novel draft, so I’m going to need some fresh short stories soon

And I am obsessed with solarpunk right now and would like to be spending time with that artistically

And in the past, arbitrary challenges have worked really well to motivate me to get writing done

SO: for the next 4 weeks I will be writing 2k-4k short solarpunk stories — one per week, at least two drafts. Weeks end Sunday night; I’m starting now so story 1 gets a few extra days.

They will be themed: Earth, Fire, Water and Air. Because that seems like a reasonable arbitrary rule.

I won’t be publishing them here or anything, but if anyone following me is interested I would like to share them with beta readers. And, for that matter, if anybody else wants to do this with me, we could swap critiques. (No promises on critiquing everybody if this post is absurdly popular.)

More solarpunk thoughts -- competing ideologies

definitely adding a Solarpunk category to my blog. So, the near-future -punks are usually named for the kind of technology they use -- cyberpunk, biopunk, nanopunk, etc. and the recent-past -punks are often named for the kind of power they use -- steampunk, dieselpunk, clockpunk, etc.

Solarpunk sort of fits the second category, because solar is a kind of power. And it sort of fits the first, too, because it's about alternative energy technologies.

But solar power is (almost) the root of all other kinds of power. Plants get straight solar power, and animals eat plants for their fuel. Wood fuel is a plant's stored solar work rendered into heat. Oil is solar-generated plant and animal matter that's just had a long time to sit. The weather cycle comes from the sun heating up the oceans, which gives wind power as well as hydroelectric.


There are two other kinds of power, too, that don't come from the sun. Geothermal, the use of the Earth's own core heat, and nuclear, the manipulation of fissionable elements to release atomic energy.

Atompunk is already a thing, but it looks like geopunk might not be. And I'm not really proposing giving them their own genres, anyway. Rather, I think they'd make cool antagonistic ideologies within a solarpunk setting.

The atompunks are the folks who still think it's a good idea to maintain a top-down, centralized power grid. They recognize the need to get off of fossil fuels, but they want to retain a 20th century style infrastructure. If solarpunk is a setting just after the whole world is on board with climate change being real and fossil fuels being a serious problem, the atompunks are the social conservatives. Still digging-in-the-earth to operate big power plants. So, not really -punk at all.

The geopunks are a lot more interesting to me, actually. These are the people who don't think the world is saveable. They're sold on the apocalyptic future and are looking for a way for humankind to survive despite destroying the planet. They're looking to burrow underground and live off the heat of the deep earth, Matrix-style.

I can imagine it being a Libertarian movement -- the Underground City where Everything is Legal and Unlimited Power is Free because LAVA. (In my mind, this goes horribly, and the present state of the movement is "Years since last natural disaster triggered: 0.")

Solarpunk thoughts -- accessibility

I wrote this yesterday for Tumblr but I like it so I'm reposting it here So I've been kind of obsessing over Solarpunk lately, and one of the keywords that's been highlighted as important is Art Nouveau. So I was browsing the results of Art Nouveau in Google Image search, and I started to notice something.

Art Nouveau fonts struck me as really similar in appearance to fonts designed for people with dyslexia, like OpenDyslexic. Like, they bulge in different places and stuff, and that's a really big deal when it comes to these fonts, but the point is that it looks like it'd be easy to take the principles of accessible font design for dyslexia and apply them to graphic design for a new generation of Art Nouveau inspired work -- like Solarpunk.

I love the thought that an aesthetic movement could have accessibility baked in like that -- not placing aesthetic over usability, or even working accessibility in despite the aesthetic goals -- I mean using the art style as the mechanism for accessibility.

Art is, at least partially, about taking up space in the world to make room for human experience as a priority. In this case, with this movement, that could be very literal.

And that got me really excited, because Solarpunk is so obviously equipped to be totally all about that -- I love the idea of Solarpunk planners and designers and architects keeping in mind as a real priority making their spaces deliberately pleasant, comfortable and helpful for people with disabilities, not just tolerably navigable to meet code. I love the idea of a basic principle of Solarpunk design being "Every human is worth the effort of significant care in design choices." The idea that accessibility is a form of beauty that the Solarpunk art movement prioritizes.

And it fits right in with the punk part of the movement, because it screams "Disability is what happens when you build a city to use its people, not for the people to use the city."

Solarpunk: a plausible, optimistic near-future SF proposal

EVERYBODY: Go check out this post, "Solarpunk: Notes toward a manifesto." It's short, you have time. Look at the Tumblr post that inspired it, because that's mostly just images that suggest a really cool proposed genre. Not sure how late to the party I am on this, but it's really exciting -- this is the first concrete suggestion I've seen for optimistic SF in the 21st century.

Solarpunk is about finding ways to make life more wonderful for us right now, and more importantly for the generations that follow us – i.e., extending human life at the species level, rather than individually. Our future must involve repurposing and creating new things from what we already have. [...]

[...] There’s an oppositional quality to solarpunk, but it’s an opposition that begins with infrastructure as a form of resistance. We’re already seeing it in the struggles of public utilities to deal with the explosion in rooftop solar. “Dealing with infrastructure is a protection against being robbed of one’s self-determination,” said Chokwe Lumumba, the late mayor of Jackson, MS, and he was right. Certainly there are good reasons to have a grid, and we don’t want it to rot away, but one of the healthy things about local resilience is that it puts you in a much better bargaining position against the people who might want to shut you off (We’re looking at you, Detroit).