Sunday Speculation: The Positivity of Solarpunk – Can We Find Good Hiding Amidst the Bad?

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Andrew Dana Hudson’s “On the Political Dimensions of Solarpunk”  is a must read for those who are interested in this emerging movement.  Andrew’s essay not only breaks down the philosophies driving the ideology, but also touches on outlying factors which are intrinsically locked in an ongoing cultural war – factors such as politics; out-of-control climate change; and humanity’s historical indifference to the environmental disasters that are slowly eroding our ability to co-exist with the natural world.

Andrew’s essay goes into much deeper detail than this short blog will address so, do yourself a real favor and read it.  Then come back and allow me to put a spotlight on one, small idea that can effect positive change: being proactive on a smaller, personal scale.

Even among the torrent of doom and dire warnings which are broadcast daily from televisions and podcasts, or discussed over micro-brews, there are small pockets of humanity who refuse to concede.  They remain optimistic amidst the alarming news reports of sinking islands and eroding shorelines.  Hudson contemplates, “Perhaps it is the canny optimism, so out of place in a world of crisis…” that “strikes a chord” and “stands out among the pandemonium.”  Uncomfortable with placing a label on a thought process, Hudson offers his interpretation of what the solarpunk movement represents by stating, “Let’s tentatively call it a speculative moment: a collaborative effort to imagine and design a world of prosperity, peace, sustainability and beauty, achievable with what we have from where we are.”

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So my question is this: what the hell is stopping us?  I look around me at the garbage laying in street gutters, or gathering beneath the fallen leaves on the side of the road, poking its sun-faded and dirty face up from underneath its damp and mildewed blankets, and wonder why this is considered okay? Why the indifference and lack of action?  I drive down the road and see smoke pouring from the stacks of an electrical plant – and this is considered fine, but when developers come in and want to construct a wind farm, everyone loses their mind.  Where is the logic in this line of thought?  Where will we be 100 years from now if we don’t do something to counteract the last 100 years of “progress”?

My questions above are not solutions, though they can lead to thoughtful discussion.  And I thoroughly adhere to the belief that questions + discussions = solutions (Q+D=S).

“One great big festering neon distraction, I’ve a suggestion to keep you all occupied: Learn to swim.” – Tool, Ænema

Perhaps we do live in a world where we are assailed daily by bleak and alarming news of increasing climate related disasters – but that doesn’t mean we’re going to sit on the shore while the water creeps up to our necks and not try to swim, right? That would be foolish and self-defeating. So, obviously, we need to do something.

One thing I’ve come to realize is that those who want to effect change will need to begin approaching that change on a much smaller scale.  We will not be able to march into halls of power and change decades – even centuries – of political leanings that favor corporate mission statements overnight.  We will not instill values of good stewardship with a simple demand. But we can at least begin – in our own communities, on our own streets, and within our own homes.  Recycle; conserve; pick up trash and dispose of it properly; approach your town hall to incorporate recycling programs – all small steps that can make huge impacts.  Be proactive – ask the questions, discuss the possibilities, find the solutions, even if only interim solutions are available.  Because one day, in the not so distant future, we’ll have no choice.  And if our leaders are not prepared, we will need to be.

“Solarpunk needs a foot in the door; let’s not be afraid to walk through it, if the wind blows that door open.” – Andrew Hudson

Do you have any ideas on how communities can contribute to repairing the damage in their environment?  Please share and start a discussion!



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