Watson's early Solarpunk thoughts

These are posts I wrote in the first couple months after I found out about Solarpunk, starting to grapple with the actual implementation of what I see as solarpunk values, in the face of real-world complexity.

Solarpunk thoughts -- accessibility (September 10, 2014)

I wrote this yesterday for Tumblr but I like it so I'm reposting it here So I've been kind of obsessing over Solarpunk lately, and one of the keywords that's been highlighted as important is Art Nouveau. So I was browsing the results of Art Nouveau in Google Image search, and I started to notice something.

Art Nouveau fonts struck me as really similar in appearance to fonts designed for people with dyslexia, like OpenDyslexic. Like, they bulge in different places and stuff, and that's a really big deal when it comes to these fonts, but the point is that it looks like it'd be easy to take the principles of accessible font design for dyslexia and apply them to graphic design for a new generation of Art Nouveau inspired work -- like Solarpunk. Keep reading...

More solarpunk thoughts -- competing ideologies (September 11, 2014)

... So, the near-future -punks are usually named for the kind of technology they use -- cyberpunk, biopunk, nanopunk, etc. and the recent-past -punks are often named for the kind of power they use -- steampunk, dieselpunk, clockpunk, etc.

Solarpunk sort of fits the second category, because solar is a kind of power. And it sort of fits the first, too, because it's about alternative energy technologies.

But solar power is (almost) the root of all other kinds of power. Plants get straight solar power, and animals eat plants for their fuel. Wood fuel is a plant's stored solar work rendered into heat. Oil is solar-generated plant and animal matter that's just had a long time to sit. The weather cycle comes from the sun heating up the oceans, which gives wind power as well as hydroelectric.


There are two other kinds of power, too, that don't come from the sun.  Keep reading...

Isolation and connectivity in Solarpunk (December 15, 2014)

In my idea of a solarpunk future, there's no single right way to do solarpunk. Instead, diverse communities from around the world adopt the name, ideas, or both, and build little nests of self-sustaining revolution tailored to meet the needs of their revolutionaries and specifically target and combat the worst effects of exploitative modernity in their immediate environment. Maybe in Las Vegas that means optimizing efficient use of water, while in New York the top priority is developing institutional solutions to homelessness. That model for solarpunk communities involves a lot of isolation -- and I think that's a good thing, because it puts up resistance against the impulse to try and build a single, coherent, all-encompassing movement that tries to solve all the world's problems all together and at once -- an endeavor that usually results in genocide.

But it also requires connectivity, and working with alternate models for connections that emerge outside modernist, hierarchical institutions could be a big part of building a solarpunk movement, or constellation of movements. Keep reading...