Brief History of Solar Punk
Solar Punk is a lively and sustainable imagination of a global future that aims to create it. It got its name from genres like: Cyberpunk - a world ruled by technology Steampunk - a world ruled by steam engines Dieselpunk - a world ruled by natural gases Solar Punk is a shining vision of a positive future grounded in our existing world that emphasizes the need for environmental sustainability, self-governance, and social justice. It is futurism that focuses on what we should hope for rather than on what we should avoid.
We have a lot of work to do, and it’s all possible. From solar powered transportation to nutrient dense foods in urban environments, Solar Punk is making some serious momentum that will help make this healthy world a reality.
Side note: Let me tell you real quick what is not Solar Punk… it isn’t slapping flowers and trees on concrete buildings and steel skyscrapers. That’s called greenwashing. Creating a fake appearance of sustainability is damaging to the environment. A lot of water is used to create these masks for buildings and is often not made out of durable or sustainable materials.
How Solar Punk got it’s start
Around 2008 a blog named Republic of the Bees published the post, “From Steampunk to Solarpunk,” which conceptualized Solarpunk as a literary genre inspired by steampunk.
There were a few articles and works after this, but it gained more popularity with Miss Olivia Louise’s Tumblr post in 2014, which established some of the aesthetics of Solar Punk. She described it, “(Solar Punk is) a world in which children grow up being taught about building electronic tech as well as food gardening and other skills, and people have come back around to appreciating artisans and craftspeople, from stonemasons and smithies to dressmakers and jewelers, and everyone in between.”
Her post was later credited by Adam Flynn in his Notes Toward A Manifesto in late 2014. He describes the difficulty of being a futurist under 30, watching the world dive down the path of cyberpunk, with the ever-present existential threat of climate change. Solarpunk, to him, is the only alternative to denial or despair. It rejects the individualistic, unsustainable approaches of some futurists, who refuse to acknowledge the limits of energy on our Earth. Solarpunk is about “ingenuity, generativity, independence, and community.” It’s suffixed by punk because it opposes our existing world. It creates local resilience.