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Solar Punk

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Green cities and gorgeous design? Yeah. The future is gonna be awesome. Drawing by Owen C
"We use the water, wind and sun
To make our homes and gadgets run
Where else can you have such fun, environmentally?!"
The Smoggies theme song

Solarpunk 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 aesthetics. It envisions a free and egalitarian world with a slight bend toward social anarchism. Standing as both a reaction to the nihilism of Cyberpunk and a solution to a lot of the problems we face in the world, Solar punk works look toward a brighter future ("solar") while deliberately subverting the systems that keep that brighter future from happening ("punk").

The genre was coined 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 Beast Men (Biologically/genetically 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. Likely to combine lighter and more utopic versions of Biopunk, Oceanpunk and Skypunk themes, randomly set in the near/far future (rarely in the far past), with realistic (sci-)fantastic elements. Solarpunk works usually believe in Science Is Good, as the marriage of nature and technology is what leads to such a utopic setting.


Compare and 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, Solar Punk 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; it's already been remarked that there's a lot more sci-fi classics retroactively labeled as Solar Punk than those which were consciously written to follow the trend. As far as we here at TVT are concerned, it's enough for the moment if they contain important Solar Punk elements. Let us leave genre distinction debates to others and feel free to add examples for either of these.


A helpful intro to the whole concept can be found here.

Compare to Pastoral Science Fiction. In some ways Solarpunk has looped back to a version of the Crystal Spires and Togas that Cyberpunk was originally rebelling against in the first place.


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  • This Chobani commercial features an advanced, futuristic society in which technology and nature exist in harmony with each other.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou combines this with Cosy Catastrophe. Humanity is declining into extinction and society has collapsed, but all the violence and noise associated with such an event has long passed, leaving a quiet, egalitarian countryside where advanced technology like Ridiculously Human Robots is used mostly for recreation, nature is reclaiming the land, and the dwindling population lives in peace and moderate comfort.
  • Freedom Project: The Earth has seen better days, but it's recovering quite well and most people there live fulfilling lives, learning to coexist with nature and facing their challenges with a smile. Much of the plot is driven by the spacer protagonist attempting to convince the archaic government of the Moon to embrace change and share their advanced technology with the people of Earth to rebuild society in a better form.
  • The works of Hayao Miyazaki, while created before the Solar Punk 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.

    Comic Books 
  • In the first storyline of The Sandman Spin-Off The Dreaming, Cain and Abel visit various utopian realms including "Ecotopia", a high-tech world based on windmills and solar towers, and blending into the countryside.
  • Xenozoic Tales is a predecessor to the genre, with a post-apocalyptic but pretty okay world and themes of balancing technology with nature, spirituality, and rebellion against political corruption.

    Fan Works 
  • The Ecorium concept of Philip Sibbering's Warhammer 40,000 fanfiction, or at least their "present day" M41 incarnation, are a dark deconstruction of this trope, illustrating how the basic principles of Solarpunk can easily serve dystopic ends. 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 eke out a dismal existence reminiscent of medieval peasants, and it's explicitly stated 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. Considering the fact that they were first mentioned in his site in 2007, years before the Solarpunk manifesto of 2014, (and conceived at least a decade before the Manifesto) it might even be an Unbuilt Trope.

    Interestingly enough, Sibbering himself discussed the relationship of Solarpunk and the Ecorium in response to this very entry, noting how Dark Age of Technology-era Ecoriums were much closer to vanilla Solarpunk before the Age of Strife and the rise of the Imperium of Man, and that early incarnations of them in fact had elaborate facades and even rooftop gardens.
  • In the Coreline story Coreline: Invasion of Portland, it's revealed that the city of Portland, Oregon in the Coreline universe was transformed by the Vanishing into a forest-like city. This was also done as a nod to the city's real life progressivism on environmental issues.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — 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.
  • Black Panther (2018): Wakanda is an Afrofuturist paradise, thanks to its abundance of vibranium. The major conflict of the movie boils down to whether Wakanda should be doing more to share their resources and technology to help the world, which they ultimately opt to do. The design of Wakanda has many elements commonly seen in solarpunk, such as vertical gardens, renewable and nonpolluting energy in the form of vibranium, and high tech in naturalistic and simple forms. (Afrofuturism and Solarpunk as movements are quite friendly due to the mutual focus on better, more equal, and diverse futures and often share themes or outright crossover.)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: Earth 838 has this aesthetic, with a much lighter and airier feel than the main Earth 616. This version of New York is full of buildings covered in growing plantlife with sidewalks that are wide and paved with grassy areas to walk on. This is likely a case of Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome.
  • At the end of The One, Gabe Law is sent to an idyllic world with a green civilization where he meets the dimensional counterpart of his wife, who had been killed earlier in the film.

  • 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.
    • Among other things making you question how "utopian" it is, is within the first few chapters they manage to explain that there is a weekly tax on biofuel with usage strictly measured (paid either in credits or in plant production, usually weed), that you can't even kill a raccoon on your land because of endangered species laws, obnoxious clogged traffic, that the beer is artificial and comes only in pill form, and people who want to be able to vote and use electricity are chipped with GPS tracking (resulting in about every city having populations of disenfranchised).
  • 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.
  • Many stories by Arthur C. Clarke contain such background elements as distributed countryside living made possible by advances in robotics and communication technology, with advanced industry tastefully unobtrusive and out of sight.
    • The short story "Sunjammer", aka "The Wind from the Sun", 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 novel "Songs from the Stars" by Norman Spinrad features a society called Aquaria that runs on "White Science" and only uses renewable energy, accepting "the law of muscle, sun, wind, and water" as its technological foundation. Notable for its portrayal of flying bicycles. The plot, naturally, involves a conspiracy by practitioners of Black Science to bring back forbidden energy sources and also to revive the space program.
  • Gerard K. O'Niell's 1981 futurist non-fiction book, 2081: A Hopeful View of the Human Future, posited a society with elements that fall somewhere between a Zeerusty "World of Tomorrow" a la Disneyland and this trope.
  • The novella "Miles Past Xanadu" (and subsequent Novel-Length Expansion "Wheelers") by Matt Stephens is focused almost exclusively on a sub-culture of people who leave the cities of a near-ruined world to restore the ecosystem on their own, supporting themselves and creating communities of their own according to a far more Solarpunk philosophy.
  • Pacific Edge, by Kim Stanley Robinson, posits this as one possible future for Southern California.
  • Devolution is set in Greenloop, a technologically advanced green commune in the Cascade Mountains that seeks to make this trope reality. However, the novel quickly proves to be a Deconstruction of the movement; the commune is too reliant on bleeding-edge technology, being totally dependent on the sort of industrial supply chains they claim to hate to practice their lifestyle. The inhabitants are mostly naive rich people and sheltered political activists with little to none of the wilderness experience it would take to actually live in harmony with nature, and are thus totally unprepared for its dangers, such as natural disasters or aggressive animals.
  • The Monk and Robot duology by Becky Chambers was commissioned as a set of solarpunk novellas. It takes place on the moon Panga which was converted to a completely sustainable and pollution free environment in a period called "the Transition". All energy is wind, solar, or man-made, materials are made to either be recyclable or biodegradeable, a new economic system based on "pebs" ensures No Poverty and much of the moon has been rewilded. The Arc Words of the series are "What do humans need?" and how to answer that question in a post-scarcity society.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Obi-Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia's home planet of Alderaan is depicted in this manner, with lots of green spaces even in the cities, no visible pollution, and a peaceful society with no weapons.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
    • On the City-Plane of Ravnica, both the Selesnya Conclave and Simic Combine use this aesthetic, blending nature with civilization, the former focused more on aesthetics and the latter more on bio-engineering.
    • As of Neon Dynasty, the Japanese inspired setting of Kamigawa has progressed technologically to Cyberpunk levels. However, spirits and nature are respected and diplomats are actually used to negotiate the will of kami in regards to technology.
  • Warhammer 40,000: From what little we have seen or heard from their home territory, T'au cities fit the bill down pat. Everything is clean, efficient and blends natural features with high technology and Oriental aesthetics (the T'au are Space Japanese).
  • In Solarpunk Futures, players use (backcasting) and modified consensus to collectively ‘remember’ the stories of how their Ancestors built a social ecological Utopia.

    Video Games 
  • The cities and palaces in the forest part of the nation Sumeru in Genshin Impact is heavily solarpunk themed since the nation's main element is Dendro and the Forest Watchers' job in the nation is to protect Sumeru's forests.
  • 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.
    • The actual game itself takes place approximately thirty years after a failed robotic uprising dubbed "The Omnic Crisis", so it did take sometime being a Cyberpunk-like atmospherenote  until it eventually evolved into the Post-Cyberpunk/Solarpunk-like setting as we see in-game over the last few years.
  • Poptropica has Time Tangled Island, which involves averting a Bad Future and replacing it with this.
  • In Anno 2070, part of the AnnoDomini series, the Eden Initiative, or Ecos, are an environmentally-focused faction, and a more developed city built for them with look like this trope, in contrast to the more severe style of architecture favoured by their corpocratic rivals, the Global Trust. The Ecos favour wind and solar power, wood and glass architecture, and even seem to have a healthier diet and general lifestyle than the Trust.
  • 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.
  • Pokémon is a version of this. There's light industry, powered either through mundane renewable resources or Pokémon, but also vast swaths of virtually untouched nature in between. The most popular form of travel besides the Pokémon themselves is the bicycle.
    • Probably the best example and counterexample of this trope in Pokémon is in Sinnoh.
      • Played Straight: First, you have Floaroma Town, a quaint breezy town in the middle of a flower meadow right next to a small wind farm. Then you also get Sunyshore City, which is a relatively-unindustrialized coastal city with massive two-storey roads built completely out of solar panels, which help power things like the city's lighthouse and the local Pokemon Gym.
      • Averted, however, by Oreburgh Town, one of the first settlements you visit in the Sinnoh games, whose economy relies almost completely on coal mining operations, which is even maintained by the local Gym Leader. This is the natural antithesis to Solar Punk. However, given that it hosts the first Gym and Sunyshore has the last one, the game's progression gives off the impression of society evolving towards solarpunk.
    • Fortree City is also a good representative of Solar Punk's aesthetic, being a small city built completely in the woods to the point that many of them live in tree houses connected via wooden bridges crossing the city. The entire city is completely green, just like the best Solar Punk imagery. It doesn't meet the sci-fi technology aspect of Solar Punk though, leaning a bit too heavily on the rustic side.
    • While pollution exists in the setting, it's also somewhat mitigated by certain Pokemon who can consume garbage or smog such as Muk or the Galarian version of Weezing (the latter of which is capable of turning factory smog into clean air).
  • Final Fantasy XIV:
    • The city state of Gridania and surrounding settlements follow this trope to the letter, down to the natural looking Art Deco buildings blending into the hills and the forest that surrounds the area. (The forest is aptly named the Black Shroud as the trees are so massive they can completely block the light from reaching the ground.) Gridania's main source of energy is a group of massive waterwheels fed by the multiple rivers surrounding the city.
    • However, this is an Enforced Trope as the elementals that guard the Black Shroud will destroy the city if anyone dares overstep the line. (It already happened in the past, when the first Hyur and Elezen attempted to settle there, being forced underground to escape the vengeance of the Elementals.) Specially attuned Hyur known as Padjal are speakers for the Elementals, keeping their wrath at bay while enforcing their orders to appease them, which can sometimes appear as draconic. For example, while hunting for food is acceptable and profitable to the city due to its leatherworking industry, poaching is punishable by death.
    • It's also notable that of the three main city states, Gridania is the one holding the line against the invasion of the expansionist and villainous Garlean Empire and their Magitek weapons.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has some aspects of this, with the Magitek-heavy Cosy Catastrophe setting and feudal Japanese influences on much of the architecture, technology, and overall environment.
  • Fisherman's Horizon in Final Fantasy VIII. Although the name invokes a rural fishing village, it is in fact made up of recycled and repurposed industrial equipment and the Mayor's House is located in the middle of a huge solar array. The citizens are engineers, even those that don't look the part. Although the main game portrays them as Obstructionist Pacifist people, an optional and easily missed sidequestnote  reveals they were once engineers from the highly advanced Esthar city that were disgusted by its use of their technology for war and thus left to found Fisherman's Horizon, fulfilling the "punk" part of "solarpunk."

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: The Firelights' base is built around an enormous tree thriving in the depths of the city, a symbol of resilience in the dark of the underground and perhaps the only organic source of clean air in Zaun. Building joyful, technological communities intertwined with nature is at the heart of the aesthetics of Solarpunk, while the fact that their community focuses on art, mutual aid, and community defense against Silco and the encroaching shimmer epidemic speaks to the somewhat anarchistic social side of solar punk sensibilities. Between the glimmering Steampunk of Piltover and the grungy Biopunk of most of Zaun, the Firelights are a haven for those tired of exploitation by both sides.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command has Rhizome, a planet whose technology is based entirely around genetically engineered plants, which is their way of living in harmony with nature. Plus, their plants are sensitive to emotion. The happier you are, the better they work for you.
  • Droners: Solar panels, holographic screens and remote-controlled drones coexist alongside wooden buildings, stone statues, boats made from giant conchs and wind turbines embedded into the scenery. Many characters show strong environmental concern and conflict regularly arises from the fact that some drone manufacturers do not care that they use polluting technology.
  • In the finale of Star Wars: Rebels, the inhabitants of Lothal banish the Empire, which has been exploiting both the people and the planet for decades. After a seven-year Time Skip, it's shown that the planet has fully recovered and the capital is a Shining City with beautiful white towers and non-polluting technology, while art and spirituality (both suppressed under the Empire) are allowed to bloom.

    Real Life 
  • Technological utopianism as along other futurist/technological focused movements seen below are qualified here.
    • Neo-Futurism is a current popular art movement mainly inspired by (Neo)-Art Nouveau and Neo-Victorian with Asian/African arts.
    • The Transhumanist movement seems to already have a pseudo-political ideology named 'Technogaianism' which shares similar ideals with this punk.
  • The 2016 French documentary Dream the Future, especially the episode on food. It features a Japanese businessman who turned his company building into one big vertical garden (the fruits and vegetables grown are served in the cafeteria).