As I’ve said before, science fiction is brilliant about imagining a future where the future just *is*. Thirty-plus years ago, William Gibson kicked off a new genre of science fiction called cyberpunk, imagining the end-state of our brilliance and our cynicism. Now, in a world where our hopelessness is all but assured, science fiction is pushing us the other way with solarpunk.
“Solarpunk is a genre that says both here’s what our future needs to look like and here’s how we can get there,” according to author Claudie Arseneault. “Solarpunk proposes that humans can learn to live in harmony with the planet once again,” according to Hopes and Fears.
It sounds tremendously cool to me, and here’s why: We need this. We need more ideas that live within the summit of our knowledge and beyond the pit of our fears. We need affirmations of human aspiration, instead of alienation. We’re desperate for anything that looks like a light at the end of the tunnel of horrors we’re traveling through. Solarpunk might be the answer, and it’s right on time.
My good wishes are tempered with a bit of caution, though. I’m innately circumspect toward any movement or concept that tells, rather than shows, what it is. Solarpunk isn’t saving the world yet, even if a couple of blog posts think it might. Public relations does not always result in reality.
But it might, and that’s awesome. I’ll be watching the development of solarpunk closely, and I hope you will, too.