What would you like to see in our solarpunk future?

It's so easy to talk about what you don't want in the future, but harder to pin down what you do want. So my idea is simply to capture and share your ideas the kind of things you want to see in a solarpunk future.

You can read my post, which describes this in a bit more detail:

Then feel free to start submitting your ideas, which I'll collate them and create a new post to inspire and share.

FFS, why did I post this to birdsite? The first reply include a comment about needing a reduction in population. I don't know whether to ignore it or ask them to explain further. So much population reduction talk is inherently racist. Sigh

I decided to block them*. I don't have the energy to fight with someone about this.

Population isn't the problem. Consumption, by white people, and the lack of women's rights, is.

*thanks @joecassels

Ugh, the image description for the picture attached above is incorrect. It's meant to be:

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore. Lush tropical gardens with futuristic looking buildings and structures

sigh. Maybe I'll be less tired in a ;)

The first few responses to the question 'What would you like to see in our future?' have started to come in. But I know there are lots of you out there with tons of great ideas!

*taps fingers*
*waits for all the great ideas to come in...*

@GwenfarsGarden @joecassels Well, this is something I had been considering writing about sometime soon. How the definition of "Abundance" changes as the possibility-space changes, and population is a key part of that. So in a world of only 100 people, we need to exert zero effort for abundance: nature provides. But in a world of 10 Billion, we need to think about what Abundance means. You're right though; women's rights and justice are a key part of slowing population growth, to begin with.

@GwenfarsGarden @joecassels And it is certainly true, and deeply disheartening, that this issue usually _does_ devolve into racism in the public. It seems to be a preferred deflection-to-race tactic by commenters everywhere: "We'd all be fine if $OTHER_ETHNIC_GROUP would stop having babies"->BLOCK

@cathal @joecassels yep, this is why I've got to the point of thinking white men shouldn't talk about population (along the lines of Reni Eddo-Lodge's 'why I no longer talk to white people about race')

Whilst there are finite resources on the planet, at this stage, until white/well-off people have massively reduced their consumption, and women everywhere have equal rights, including reproductive rights, the so called 'population question' is just a way of deflecting from the key issues and blaming others rather than taking responsibility for their own impact.

@GwenfarsGarden @joecassels Also: I think you're right on target by linking this to individual and collective consumption, because it comes up directly in climate negotiations.
"China consume 30% of global emissions! Why should we reduce?"
"Because your per-capita emissions are stupidly high and you're setting the standard for a 'wealthy lifestyle' which developing nations' citizens are trying to emulate".
This also feeds back into "how do we define abundance", of course.

@GwenfarsGarden @joecassels Because, again, if there were only 100 people in the world, they could each have a carbon budget high enough to permit them to each light a yearly forest fire if they wanted. If we desire abundance/post-scarcity, we need to define it with population as a variable, whether we like it or not. But I think we need different language/angles to discuss it, because so many people approach it from so toxic a place.

@GwenfarsGarden To answer the original question here though: Something I've always wanted to see was a world where we can have our cake of high technology, and eat it without environmental or economic guilt, too. For me for several years, this meant trying to build off-grid, DIY-scale, "peer to peer" genetic engineering technology. I've always felt if farmers could "Hack their own crops" there would be less mistrust of the technology itself, and more focus on the issue of "Intellectual Property"

@cathal I'll add this to the list. Do you want me to add your name & link to your profile, or keep it anon?

Yeh, the problem is who 'owns' the seeds etc. There should be no corporate control of seeds/tech, it should be done by farmers in their bioregion and discussion with the community of which they are a part.

@GwenfarsGarden I'm happy to be credited, it's something I discuss a lot anyway.
There are a lot of misconceptions about the state of IP in GE, chiefly that they have anything to do with one another. :P You can patent non-GE crops, in practice loads of "normal" crop traits are patented. Which is, yunno, appalling.
Another is that loads of farmers get sued, which is..mostly untrue. But true or not, nobody should have that power. Nobody should "own" breeds or species of life, or constituent bits.

@cathal cool, will credit you.

It is the IP/ownership that is the issue with GE. We've been doing it for 10,000 years or more, every time we save seed & grow on, because it has a trait we like. I do it with the way I select, save & grow on my unusual garlic varieties each year. But I'm massively anti anyone owning/patenting the right to life, as you say.

@sajith Frick! It's meant to be this: Gardens by the Bay, Singapore. Lush tropical gardens with futuristic looking buildings and structures

I confused it with another pic in the same blog. sigh

@GwenfarsGarden Boat cities!!!!! powered by the sun and the waves. Bioluminecense!!!

@F1shCake this is excellent. Do you want me to link to you or would you prefer to be anon?

I'd like to see diversity in housing styles: cozy apartments, cabins, bigger houses, for every possible preference, given that people could still prefer one style over others when capitalist made up scarcity is over.

Also, a public housing system with spare houses in every region for nomad lifestyles, so people can live travelling or spend one year or two in a far away place. For example, artists could enjoy many different kinds of landscapes to inspire their work if they can travel as much as they want and for longer times, and our current tourism model doesn't allow that (besides being unsustainable).

@alyxmaia thanks for this. These are great ideas. Are you happy to have your name/link to profile or would you prefer to be anon?

I think I'd like to be anon for now, thanks. I'm glad the ideas are useful!

I know I say this a lot, but I can sum it up with one word. Harmony. And, to elaborate a little, blurring of artificially imposed boundaries.

Harmony between technology and environment. Harmony between society and nature. Harmony between people of all kinds. Coexistence.

Consider the now classic Solarpunk images of forest cities, for instance. I like to imagine a world where city planning and forestry are essentially the same task.

A nice little real world example of this blurring of boundaries is the fact that solar energy production and beekeeping can apparently coexist quite nicely.

Beekeepers, Bolton Bees, use the land surrounding solar panels as pollinator friendly spaces, using the same land space to plant flowers, keep beehives, and produce honey.

This is the kind of thing I find very appealing! β˜€οΈπŸ

@InvaderXan thanks for this and the other contribution. Are you happy to have your name/link to profile, or would you prefer to be anon?

Anytime! And sure, I’m happy to put my name to this! β˜€οΈ

Replyingbto this requires a long post by us and @CommandoJugendstil
We'll send it over the weekend.

@talesfromtheev @CommandoJugendstil Just wanted to let you know, my plan, depending on health, is to publish the post this coming weekend (ie. Sunday morning, UK time). I'm sure you're very busy, but if you'd still like to contribute, will that be enough time to put something together?

Most people are submitting a para or two. One person has submitted a rather creative 'letter' and as it's longer, it has a summary in the blogpost, and then a link to the full post on their site. So either is fine with me. And if you don't have time, no probs. I may do a 2nd round if we get enough interest :)

Hi, we're a bit busy ATM but we should be done by Saturday. It's quite long and detailed and focused on urban transition and we were planning to post it somewhere (perhaps our very own Plume on and send you the link. But if you have another idea in mind, do tell us.

@talesfromtheev @CommandoJugendstil Oooh, yes, do post it on your own Plume on Cafe.Sunbeam.City! That's what the other person did.

Look forward to reading it :)

@talesfromtheev @CommandoJugendstil thanks, what a fantastic post. I want to live in your solarpunk city! Will look up Kate Raworth's book. I knew her when I worked at Oxfam and always liked her thinking.

I'm running late with posting coz health, so will probably be the end if the week when I publish the post. Will let you know when it goes live.

Thanks a lot for the compliments! That's the kind of city we like to write of, about how it may come to be and about how it will work. And don't worry about the delay. Health and safety always come first

@GwenfarsGarden I think proper labelling of packaging stating what it's made from along with a general change in packing so everything is 100% recyclable (and simple to separate the different materials) would be a good start. Also, the end user cost of a product is just one way to categorise it. Proper labelling with ecological impact, water / energy use etc should be put in place. They did it with nutrition content, why not go further?

I'm not looking too far to the future because I feel that way you lose sight of the little changes required here and now.

Reimagining cities is all very well, but they've already been built a certain way. Sure, new builds can implement different processes, but we're not about to knock down the cities and move in a different direction. Improving and modifying what's already there is the only reasonable option.

@puffinus_puffinus these are good points. Are you happy to have your name/link to profile or would you prefer to be anon?

For instance, a cup of coffee uses 160 litres of water to produce, while a pair of jeans uses 2,300 litres. But a single hamburger is 2,900 litres! There's nothing on the packaging to say this, and generally nothing on the companies' websites either. And this is only one facet of the energy / resources overconsumption crisis of the West.

If it said on the packaging that the water used in the production of the hamburger you're about to tuck in to could have fully hydrated a child every day for 2 years, perhaps people would stop automatically reaching for the "easy" option.

The purpose is not to guilt-trip people into certain habits, but to make the information more obvious. There is so much information freely available all the time these days that the most valuable thing we can provide is our attention. Turning it to advertisements diverts it from real issues.

@puffinus_puffinus this is good stuff. Near future is v. important too. I'd like to edit it slightly, just move a couple of para's around, is that ok? Are you happy to have your name/link to profile next to it, or would you prefer to be anon?

I'm happy for everything to be submitted under my internet name, unless I state otherwise, and I'm happy for you to edit however you wish. I'm aware that toots are not quite the same as a long form post, and I'm happy for you to paraphrase or edit or cut bits out, however you see fit.

Okay teacher, I just handed my first assignment in on your comments. Be gentile. πŸ˜€

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Sunbeam City is a Libertarian Socialist solarpunk instance. It is ran democratically by a cooperative of like-minded individuals.