"We use the water, wind and sunSolarpunk is a genre of Speculative Fiction that focuses on craftsmanship, community, and technology powered by renewable energy, wrapped up in a coating of Art Nouveau blended with African and Asian drawings. It envisions a free and egalitarian world with a slight bend toward social anarchism. Standing as both a reaction to the nihilism of Cyber Punk and a solution to a lot of the problems we face in the world, Solarpunk works look toward a brighter future ("solar") while deliberately subverting the systems that keep that brighter future from happening ("punk"). The genre started on Tumblr in 2014 when a single post swept bloggers into an excited frenzy. Other aspects of Solarpunk include a quasi-Utopian setting, usually 20 Minutes into the Future, with the occasional Crystal Spires and Togas and even sometimes Petting Zoo Animals (Bio(-genetic) engineered or not) to add weirdness or other unwanted proposed elements. Like the Tumblr community that fostered the genre, Solarpunk also tends to feature a high level of cultural awareness, gender equality, self-expression, and artfulness. And there even likely combine lighter and more utopic versions of Biopunk, Oceanpunk and Skypunk themes that randomly set in near/far future with rarely set in far past (again) with realistic (sci-)fantastic elements. Contrast with Post-Cyberpunk, which saw the Cyberpunk movement and came to different conclusions. Post-Cyberpunk accepts the world we have and the systems that support it like corporate globalization, industrialization, and exploiting resources in slightly-less-bad ways. Meanwhile, Solarpunk aims to subvert those systems and replace them with ones that work better in the long-term through local communities, supporting artisans, and living sustainably. Like any budding genre, the number of works is still low. However there are works that are distinctly Solarpunk, and many more works contain important Solarpunk elements or are Solarpunk without knowing it. A helpful intro to the whole concept can be found here.
To make our homes and gadgets run
Where else can you have such fun, environmentally?!"
To make our homes and gadgets run
Where else can you have such fun, environmentally?!"
—The Smoggies theme song
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- Ecoriums of Philip Sibbering's Warhammer 40,000 are a dark subversion of this trope. They are sustainable environments run entirely by renewable energies, designed to meet every community need... which are sealed away completely from the outside world in colossal, Gothic structures to prevent nuclear attack. Most of their inhabitants live a dismal existence reminiscent of medieval peasants, and it's explicitly mentioned that the vast, vast majority of their inhabitants will never see the Sun, or even go outside unless they're conscripted into the Imperial Guard.
Film - Animated
- Treasure Planet features a blend of Victorian and Art Nouveau styles with futuristic technology powered by solar sails.
- The works of Hayao Miyazaki, while created before the Solarpunk movement began, have helped to shape the movement:
- Princess Mononoke: A village in the throes of industrialization clashes with the forces of nature, but they ultimately learn to coexist? Sounds about right.
- Castle in the Sky: The city of Laputa features hanging gardens and overgrowth that's reminiscent of the urban farming movement of today.
- The cities in Howl's Moving Castle, while not actually this (there are some Dark Secrets in the way) have design elements reminiscent of the genre.
- WALL•E: As the credits roll, we see that the newly-returned humans build a society that's a lot healthier for themselves and the world.
- Zootopia: The city of Zootopia itself fits the aesthetic with its beautiful architecture, sprawling design and districts environmentally controlled through advanced civil engineering. Although the perfect utopian aspect of this trope is somewhat subverted, as it turns out to be a real city with real social issues like prejudice, stereotyping and political corruption.
Film - Live Action
- Beasts of the Southern Wild: The film starts with a local teacher warning about global warming and the rising sea levels, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. The people in the Bathtub refuse to let a levee ruin their way of life, so they break it down. Then the city government forcibly removes them from the Bathtub, so they rebel even more. The film is steeped in environmentalism, anti-authoritarian characters, but the Bathtub manages to retain a sense of happiness with their way of life.
- The Summer Prince features a blend of tech and tradition in the tropics of a future Brazil.
- Wings of Renewal, an anthology of dragon-themed Solarpunk short stories.
- Ursula K. Le Guin’s Always Coming Home—which is set in a distant and seemingly postapocalyptic future—is written as an ethnography of the Kesh culture, whose agrarian (athough they’ve got Internet…in a book written in the ‘80s) classless society is depicted in sharp contrast with the warlike, stratified, and expansionist Dayao.
- In Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, the Earthseed ideoology employs a lot of garden metaphors along with actually encouraging its adherents to garden. (When you consider that Earthseed was born in part out of resource scarcity, both of the above make sense.)
- In Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time, the future which protagonist Consuelo has the most contact with is the one in which the seemingly utopian (although the inhabitants admit that there are flaws in the system, and they haven’t eliminated war or capital punishment) community of Mattapoisett, which blends small-scale agrarianism with advanced green tech, exists. Oh, and there’s a war going on against a horrific (if only vaguely outlined) dystopia.
- Miriam “Starhawk” Simos’s The Fifth Sacred Thing is a tale of Magical Realism set in a 20 Minutes into the Future version of San Francisco which the residents are in the process of rebuilding into a haven of green tech and sustainability. Oh, and there’s a war going on against a horrific (and far more clearly defined) dystopia.
- Joe Kimball's 2011 novel Timecaster has some proto-solarpunk elements. The setting is a demi-utopian, biofuel-driven future in which virtually every available surface is used for gardening; it's also a Free-Love Future whose politics are projected from present-day progressivism. However, the implications of this are contrary to solarpunk's natural-fiber aesthetic and to some aspects of its focus on craftsmanship. Because the demand for biofuel is so great, making durable goods or luxury consumables out of natural materials is seen as wasteful; wooden furniture is rare, paper is against the law, and even historical artworks are supposed to be gathered up and converted into fuel.
- News from Nowhere by William Morris. A utopian novel from the late 19th century in which an author-insert character named William Guest travels to the year 2002 to find Britain transformed into a decentralised, egalitarian, and ecological paradise where the government has been turned into a dung market, people administer their communities through participatory democracy, war and poverty are distant memories, and even money no longer exists.
- The short story "Sunjammer", aka "The Wind from the Sun", by Arthur C. Clarke, describes a race between solar sail spacecraft.
- Nnedi Okorafor's Zahrah the Windseeker takes place on Ginen, a City Planet where everything is made by plants, including technology and housing. Additionally, the planet is populated entirely by black African-appearing Human Aliens.
- The 1975 novel Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach is described on The Other Wiki as having "decentralized and renewable energy production and green building construction. The citizens are technologically creative, while remaining involved with and sensitive to nature. Thorough-going education reform is described, along with a highly localized system of universal medical care."
- Poul Anderson's Maurai use solar power along with wind and wave power to provide energy for their civilization. The last book in the series, Orion Shall Rise, includes the Domain of Skyholm whose capital is in a solar powered dirigible aerostat.
- The /tg/-created RPG setting CATastrophe combines this aesthetic with Ocean Punk, After the End, and Little Bit Beastly.
- Magic the Gathering has the plane of Kaladesh, where the technology is directly influenced by the wildlife. It helps that the technology is based on Aether,note which is a relatively green power source for its cities.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, traveling back to the past and destroying the robot generators found in the first two Zones of each Round will prevent the Bad Future where the environment is corrupted into a Polluted Wasteland. This leads to a new timeline where widespread technology works in harmony with nature to create a lush and vibrant good future devoid of Badniks.
- Numbani, the "City of Harmony" and Robot player Orisa in Overwatch, featuring curved bronze skyscrapers◊ and African tribal decorations, where humans and robots live together in peace.
- Poptropica has Time Tangled Island, which involves averting a Bad Future and replacing it with this.
- This is present in AnnoDomini, specifically Anno 2070, where the Eden Initiative is an Eco-Faction with the main goal of achieving what essentially amounts to Solarpunk.
- The people in the parallel world in Lighthouse: The Dark Being turned to this, after their ancestors' drive for industrial mastery turned the world into a Polluted Wasteland; This change allowed the planet to recover over time.
- Technological utopianism as along other futurist/technological focused movements seen below are qualified here.