Solarpunk is in my opinion the movement for a better future. It embraces and amplifies the best parts of humanity: innovation, compassion resilience, freedom, and justice, and focuses our imagination into making those qualities the underpinning of our future society. I’ve become a solarpunk because I think this optimism is essential. In fact, I think the decline of optimism and the rise of “realism” in the 20th century, is the one thing that has stagnated humanity.
Essentially, I believe nay-sayers interrupting and redirecting our imagination towards less-and-less ideal solutions is what prevented us from reaching a utopian future in the wake of the brilliant technical innovations of the last 100 years. We need to revive the idealism that radically transformed societies for the better before the fear of being labeled “unrealistic” took hold.
But if solarpunk is the way forward, solarpunk is inherently green, right?
Why talk about a solarpunk blue?
Solarpunk thrives on diversity, and a monoculture can be unhealthy even if it’s green. In my experience, green is used to mean a lot of different things, but in the context of solarpunk, I feel it represents the active forms of change. Green is literally the color of the transformation of energy and regeneration. After all, it’s the green photosynthesizing leaves and algae that are converting the bulk of the planet’s abundant solar energy into the material sustenance for all life.
But energy and matter are just a part of what makes up our reality. And we need more shades of solarpunk because there’s more than just material concerns when it comes to imagining our future. To start, there is the entire world of the mind: ideas, emotions, social structures. This informational space that we exist in, beyond just atoms and photons, is just as essential to contemplate.
To me, the space for that contemplation is blue—either a dark blue of a deep ocean, or the airy blue of a clear sky. So Solarpunk Blue is a space to ponder on how the experience of humankind will have to change internally for this new and better world we create.
I aim to make this a more contemplative space than my previous efforts, and this should be a site to come to when needing to grapple with some of the stickier questions about the future.
- Will it feel human to move beyond the quest for endless expansion?
- Can sustainability exist without equity?
- How can we find motivation in a world where competition is recognized as destructive?
- What will count as life when artificial intelligence occupies just as essential a niche in our ecosystems?
As solarpunk is a form of speculative design, the aim is always to imagine solutions in an engaging and creative way that allows ideas to spread. That’s why we’ll have essays, art, fiction, games, and activism to contemplate and to motivate, here. Hopefully, as this picture of our future gets filled in, we can help to color in a little shade of blue.