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robertogreco : solarpunk   21

Solarpunking Speculative Futures — Cultural Anthropology
"Here is a map of Eneropa, a vision of the continent of Europe in 2050. Reorganized by renewable energy production, the new states—Hydropia, Solaria, Biomassburg, Geothermalia, Vrania, Tidal States, and the Isles of Wind—are connected by a centralized European energy grid. The grid serves to redistribute renewable energy across the continent by season, with the predominant energy supply from strong winterly winds in the north replaced by solar summers in the south. Europe’s carbon emissions have dropped by (at least) 80 percent from 1990s levels, and the continent is almost entirely energy-independent. The new, post-transition Europe is a safer, happier, and more politically stable place to live.

[image]

This is not an exercise in speculative fiction, but an example of backcasting: a policy technique of detailing a desirable future and then reverse-engineering solutions to achieve it. This map was featured in a 2010 vision document entitled “Roadmap 2050: A Practical Guide to a Prosperous, Low-Carbon Europe,” which was funded by the European Climate Foundation. It is only one in a series of eye-catching visuals that present a case for a European energy grid that would have made the inventor and scientist Buckminster Fuller proud. Others include snapshots of what each of these regions will look like; often, renewable energy production is integrated with holiday-like leisure activity, from surfing to sunbathing and general frolicking in the sea.

If the imagery seems fantastical, it is nonetheless informed by a mass of technical data: grid engineering and design, plausible costs, investment plans, in-depth modeling of system balancing requirements, and analyses of the macroeconomic impacts of large-scale decarbonization. The Office for Metropolitan Architecture gave the project visual form. Head architects Rem Koolhaas and Rainer de Graaf, among others, worked in conjunction with experts at the Energy Futures Lab at the Imperial College London, the technical grid consultancy Kema, management consultants McKinsey and Company, the climate change think tank E3G, and Oxford Economics. The aesthetic might be fantasy, but the genre is very much policy.

Many have written about the synergistic, mutually constitutive relationship between speculative fiction and technological innovation. Less attention has been paid to the more mundane work of policy, which serves to bridge speculative imagination and mass adoption of a new way of life. One way to address this might be to extend the aforementioned analyses, comparing themes across a sampling of publications to determine the influence of speculative fiction on the genre of the vision document, or vice versa. Another would be to eschew the reading of one genre alongside another in favor of reading such policy documents as speculative literature in themselves. This is what “Roadmap 2050” challenges us to do. Far from being facetious, its purpose in employing codes of fantasy is to engage us in an act of genre generosity. The fantastical elements empower us to approach the document with a willingness to suspend disbelief and to go beyond our usual attunement to limits and conservative assumptions.1

But what does reading policy as a speculative genre achieve? To begin with, it forces us to acknowledge that fiction as conventionally defined no longer has a monopoly over speculative narratives. As an act of world-making, speculation is present in several contemporary professional contexts, with climate change–related policymaking as only one of them. Design fiction, for instance, is a speculative world-building methodology that employs so-called diegetic prototypes to explore how new inventions hold up both socially and technically in multiple future scenarios (see Sterling 2005). However, while design fiction accounts for a variety of futures, both desirable and dystopian, policy backcasting must always project an optimistic future. This makes it somewhat unique, read against the pantheon of speculative subgenres.

Within academia, optimism is often adopted self-consciously as an ethics, or is tied back into an overarching analytics from within which it is rendered either “cruel” (Berlant 2011), naive, or a symptom of selling out. Reading policy not only for its proffered content but speculatively for its form might prompt anthropologists to take optimism seriously—not (just) as an ethics, but as a form of labor that we encounter in the field. We know the plight of climate scientists all too well (see Clayton 2018), but how can we make sense of the obligatory optimism of policymakers as they work to promote so-called global solutions?

To diagnose optimism as an object, we might take inspiration from an analytic device in the environmental humanities: close reading for narrative aesthetics grounded in contemporary petrocultural forms (e.g., Szeman 2017). While we are far from disembedding ourselves from the petrocultural, a new subgenre coalescing around the term solarpunk might serve as a starting point to engage with the labor of optimistic speculation. Described by Elvia Wilk as wishing to “wrench science fiction from both steampunk’s magical tech fantasies and cyberpunk’s tech-gone-wrong,” solarpunk locates itself in a near future of feasible tech that often already exists in some form. Its worlds are fueled not by coal or oil (as were steam- and cyberpunk respectively), but solar energy, as a way to access a postpetro social. In its best moments the genre is not engaged in utopianism, but acts of dislocation.

If the point of speculative anthropology is not simply to recognize the speculative in contexts we encounter but also to adopt the speculative in the manner by which we engage them, then reading policy documents (with some indulgence) as solarpunk might constitute one such act of dislocation. It may even allow us to punk the relationship between our modes of critique and the dominant energy form. Perhaps Bruno Latour (2004) was more prescient than he knew when he declared that critique had run out of steam. Perhaps it is in need of some solar instead."
solarpunk  speculativefiction  speculation  speculative  designfiction  anthropology  nanditabadami  2018  speculativeanthropology 
december 2018 by robertogreco
LOW←TECH MAGAZINE
"This is a solar-powered website, which means it sometimes goes offline"



"Low-tech Solutions
[https://solar.lowtechmagazine.com/category/low-tech-solutions.html ]
Interesting possibilities arise when you combine old technology with new knowledge and new materials, or when you apply old concepts and traditional knowledge to modern technology."



"High-tech problems
[https://solar.lowtechmagazine.com/category/high-tech-problems.html ]
High-tech has become the idol of our society, but technological progress is—more often than not—aimed at solving problems caused by earlier technical inventions."



"Obsolete Technology
[https://solar.lowtechmagazine.com/category/obsolete-technology.html ]
There is a lot of potential in past and often forgotten knowledge and technologies when it comes to designing a sustainable society."

[Update: See also:
https://www.fastcompany.com/90246767/the-future-of-web-design-is-less-not-more ]
low-tech  technology  sustainability  energy  economics  solarpunk  canon  lowtech  low-techmagazine 
september 2018 by robertogreco
SOLARPUNK : A REFERENCE GUIDE – Solarpunks – Medium
"Solarpunk is a movement in speculative fiction, art, fashion and activism that seeks to answer and embody the question “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?” The aesthetics of solarpunk merge the practical with the beautiful, the well-designed with the green and wild, the bright and colorful with the earthy and solid. Solarpunk can be utopian, just optimistic, or concerned with the struggles en route to a better world — but never dystopian. As our world roils with calamity, we need solutions, not warnings. Solutions to live comfortably without fossil fuels, to equitably manage scarcity and share abundance, to be kinder to each other and to the planet we share. At once a vision of the future, a thoughtful provocation, and an achievable lifestyle.
In progress…"

[See also:
http://solarpunks.tumblr.com/post/165763925033/solarpunk-a-reference-guide-solarpunks

"This page is an attempt to open up the optics of the Solarpunk community/genre for newcomers and others looking for references. A lot of the early discussions happened on tumblr dot com from 2014 onward after @missolivialouise‘s character concept post took off — with a core community of stewards who know who they are.

What follows is not meant to be an exhaustive list but hopefully will increasingly become one. We’re also aware that we are missing almost all of the art references from this list. :(

We also didn’t include any posts from us here at http://solarpunks.tumblr.com

Please get in touch (DM) with art and their references as a lot of content has lost their attribution  — @thejaymo"]
solarpunk  reference  speculativefiction  art  fashion  activism  sustainability  civilization  utopia  dystopia  optimism  kindness  future  futurism 
october 2017 by robertogreco
On the Political Dimensions of Solarpunk — Medium
[via: http://solarpunks.tumblr.com/post/131978924858/dont-ask-permission-from-a-state-beholden-to]

"Don’t ask permission from a state beholden to oligarchs, and definitely don’t expect those oligarchs to do any of this for you. Guerilla gardening is the model, but look further. Guerilla solar panel installation. Guerilla water treatment facility restoration. Guerilla magnificent temple to the human spirit construction. Guerilla carbon sequestration megastructure creation.

Figure out what a community needs to be prosperous, peaceful and sustainable in as long a term as you can wrap your head around, and start building whatever piece is most in reach before the absent state notices. Doing so just might create pockets of more effective, horizontal politics. As the state wanes, these pockets can grow in size and influence, creating a better world even if some government claims the authority of law and holds a monopoly on violence.

Now, political choices got us into this mess, and political choices could get us out. I for one argue for a comprehensive set of reforms that were inspired by the discussions held around the world during Occupy: a global debt jubilee to free both countries and individuals from debts that impoverish and enslave them; a tax on extreme wealth to control inequality and rein in the power of oligarchs; a guaranteed basic income to provide for the poor, the infirm and those more useful as caregivers, artists and thinkers than employees of businesses; a dramatic reduction in the workweek to slow down unsustainable levels of economic expansion and to eliminate the countless “bullshit jobs” that serve no function but to bore those who hold them; the regulation or even abolition of usury (once considered as great a sin as slavery), so that investments in sustainable infrastructure that will pay off in cathedral time are not hampered by interest payments that will eventually exceed principal."



"As I argued in my discussion of cities, solarpunk should be careful not to idealize either the gothic high tech or the favela chic. No matter how many High Line-style parks or vertical farms they build, Manhattan will be useless if it is only filled with the luxury condos of absentee financiers. And favelas may be full of jugaad-innovation and dense with diverse entrepreneurialism, but they feature a fatal flaw: no fire codes. Slums are fascinating from a design perspective right up until they burn down or wash away. In a world of more extreme weather, disasters will strike down favelas before their recycling-centric, low-carbon lifestyles can save the climate.

Instead, I like the idea of focusing on large-scale infrastructure projects that will provide value for communities into the long term. A seed bank; a hyper-dense vertical permaculture farm engineered for carbon fixing; a massive, low-maintenance desalination system; a space elevator. These projects could themselves be the organizing principle around which unique solarpunk communities are organized."



"I’ve seen many people describe solarpunk as optimistic. My last suggestion is this: don’t be optimistic, be hopeful. As Vaclav Havel explained: “Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” Havel, an artist turned activist turned statesman who led his nation out of a time of crisis, in many ways embodies the transformational power of ideas and aesthetics — and thus the potential of a movement like solarpunk to do real good in the world.

This essay has been long, and it has discussed many troubling situations and possibilities. I wrote these things because I think it is important for any cohesive body of political thought to contrast what it wants with what it opposes: for transparency and privacy, against surveillance and deception; for conservation and abundance, against hoarding and exploitation; for neighborhoods and collaboratives, against gangs and police.

I also wrote this because I believe the enormity of our problems doesn’t have to paralyze us. Quite the opposite: seeing the world as it is is vital if you are going to figure out how it could be. Now is the moment to be galvanized, to know that we are on to something, and to make acting on these ideas a real part of our lives."
solarpunk  2015  andrewdanahudson  politics  favelachic  gothichightech  recycling  diy  optimism  hopefulness  scale  activism  jugaad  infrastructure  organization  horizontality  sustainability  solar  water  climatechange  gardening  hope  refugees  longnow  longnowfoundation  williamgibson  madmax  paolobacigalupi  bladerunner  overconsumption  overpopulation  thecomingrevolution  cities  urban  urbanism  brucesterling  drought  blackswans 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Solarpunk: We Are Golden, and Our Future Is Bright | F.W. Fife
"There are two forces at work here, and they’re found in the two words that make up this new idea.

First, SOLAR:

• Light. In direct opposition to the increasingly dark tone our fiction—and world—seem to be taking.
• Day. As opposed to the permanent night in which stories of cyberpunk and dystopia seem to take place.
• The Sun. A source of natural energy to support and power our future.
• Which is, of course, a much cleaner energy, the use of which will not harm our environment or selves.
• This is, then, a blending of nature and technology.
• And this is a gentle blend, not a subjugation of the earth by force through deforestation and polluting, harsh industry.
• Beneficial not only for the earth, but for the people who need it most.
• Healing and including marginalized people—like the physically and mentally disabled, the poor and homeless, people of color and immigrants, abuse victims, the chronically ill, LGBTQA people, all of the most vulnerable members of society.
• Essentially, HOPE.

And that note takes us to PUNK. Something you might be a little more familiar with, but depending on your age, might associate with loud music, outlandish hairstyles, and rude kids acting out. But I assure you, there’s not much to be scared of here. (Punk rockers can be nice too! We don’t bite. Horns up!)

PUNK:

• Rebellion. Going in a different direction than the mainstream. But in this case, that’s increasingly going in the scary direction.
• Counterculture. If our culture is pessimistic and self-centered, our counterculture will be made of hope, joy, and caring for one another.
• Enthusiasm. Ever been to a rock concert? When it goes right, it’s fun! Solarpunk goes after its goals with that same level of energy! Rock out!
• Individuality. Like the piercings and tattoos and spiky purple hair you might associate with the word ‘punk,’ it’s made to let everybody be who they are—especially those described above, who need safe places the most. As a chronically ill, queer kid, I really needed this growing up. Punk indeed!

So that’s the ideology. And you might have noticed the pretty pictures I included here! Worth a thousand words, I hope they help illustrate the more visual side of it. Solarpunk fits in with styles like art deco and art nouveau. Lots of gentle curves and swirling, bright colors, the antithesis of harsh angles and metal and stark, painful edges. Solarpunk is gentle and nurturing and welcoming.

You might say it’s also an artistic aesthetic. Like in Disney’s Treasure Planet with its gorgeous storybook ships that traverse the vast reaches of outer space with solar-powered sails on an earnest, hopeful search for hidden wonders.

Solarpunk is an architecture and building and living methodology. It’s shown in Hayao Miyazaki’s beautiful films with human society living in harmony with nature, as in the floating steel-and-tree city below from Castle In The Sky. And when humanity fails to respect and live alongside nature, it quickly learns that it must.

And it’s a philosophy and a way of life, about lifting up instead of oppressing. The spreading and sharing of resources instead of hoarding by an elite few. Good for all instead of only benefiting the very rich. A vision of a beautiful future is rebellion. In this increasingly grim, dark, gritty world, hope is a radical act of rebellion.

Solarpunk rejects the idea that because something is dark or pessimistic, it’s more meaningful. Just because a story has a devastating ending doesn’t make it somehow more profound as an art form. Just because something is optimistic doesn’t make it silly or trite. Hope is not something to be scoffed at. It’s the only thing that will keep the world functioning."

[via: https://twitter.com/Threadbare/status/639595474706558976 ]
solarpunk  2015  hope  optimism  dystopia  utopia  environment  hayaomiyazaki  nature  harmony  sustainability  punk  fwfife 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Digital Alchemist
"The family home [https://samslifeinjeddah.wordpress.com/tag/sami-angawi/ ] of architect Sami Angawi [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sami_Angawi ], Jeddah, Saudi Arabia."



"I just read the links, and omg this is even better.

So I looked at it and knew it was using the open courtyard and the pools and fountains to do a lot of the work of cooling the house, but it’s also got drip irrigation for all of those plants (which adds more moisture to the air and also helps cool it in addition to being an effective and efficient way of watering the plants), it’s got a roof garden and other eco-conscious stuff. It combines modern construction techniques with classic Arabic art and architecture.

And his home is a cultural center.

He holds lectures, concerts and salons in his home, with guests and speakers from around the world. He’s founded multiple institutions to preserve Islamic history and architecture. He’s an activist against the extremist factions he says are trying to hijack Islam.

His home is going to be part of an international institute offering degrees in Islamic history and science, as his legacy, housing a collection of over one hundred thousands of his photos, drawings and writings about Islam and the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

This is serious real-life Islamic solarpunk for real.

Tumblr likes the idea of solarpunk, even if there’s not a real body of work about it yet. Well, we’re missing that people are already doing this for real, and have been for a long time.

I am not generally an architecture fan. It’s nice and all, but it doesn’t do a lot for me, especially modern American stuff. But I am totally bowled over by this and must now go look at everything he’s ever designed."
solarpunk  2015  architecture  homes  samiangawi  saudiarabia  jeddah  lcproject  openstudioproject  art  achitecture  design  construction 
april 2015 by robertogreco
SOLARPUNKS — “Solarpunk’s idealism is a feature, not a flaw”
"sunlitrevolution:
I like solarpunk because it’s hopeful. I like solarpunk because it’s optimistic. I like solarpunk because it’s inclusive. I like solarpunk because in a world full of bad news and pessimism and corrupt systems, it suggests that maybe - if we work together, if we organise and cooperate and support one another - we can build something better than we have now. We can turn aside the broken machine that’s been dragging us inexorably towards the brink for our entire lives. We can do things, we can change things, we can have a voice. Solarpunk’s idealism is a feature, not a flaw.

I want us to start living a more solarpunk life right now. We don’t have to wait for artificial intelligence or nanotechnology or cold fusion or FTL travel. We can use what we have in this moment, even if it’s just our wits and resolve, to move in a better direction. Put solar panels on your roof. Collect rainwater. Volunteer. Make your own compost. Plant flowers for bees. Talk to your neighbours. Grow your own food. Do something.

It doesn’t matter if people are attracted to solarpunk by the aesthetics or the fashions - it’s a gateway, and it encourages exploration, investigation, imagination. Someone starts out being intrigued by elegant neo-nouveau clothing and architecture, and from there they can find out about solar power, about guerilla gardening, about permaculture and sustainable living, about activism and collectivism.

I want people to tell solarpunk stories. I want people to imagine solarpunk societies and systems and strategies. I want people to think, “How could I make this more solarpunk?”. I want solarpunk to become mainstream, because the more people we have thinking about these beautiful solar-powered utopias - and about how to get there from here - the better chance we have of walking that path before it’s too late.


Yes yes YES. It’s a bridge and a lens; utopias ought not to be escapist, nor absolutist. At their best, they provide a means of keeping hope alight, a future to fight for, and a thing to point to when champions of the status quo ask, “so what is it that you want?”"
idealism  utopia  solarpunk  pocketsofutopia 
april 2015 by robertogreco
IFTF: Artifact from the Future: Energy Wants To Be Free
"The UN has teamed up with the global Pirate Party, a political party with a platform of open intellectual property (IP), to provide new disaster relief kits that use open-source components to build ad hoc infrastructures for everything from power to water to Internet access. At the core of the relief kit is the now famous Tesla Box—a 10-foot shipping container that can power a neighborhood by harnessing the sub-atomic Casimir Effect. What else will you find in the open-source kit? Wireless lightbulbs, mobile device chargers, rechargeable desalination straws, and an Internet-in-a-suitcase."
pirateparty  iftf  speculativefiction  infrastructure  mesh  meshnetworks  enelctricity  robots  drones  construction  resilience  2013  solarpunk 
october 2014 by robertogreco
So I just found the solarpunk tag - and other misadventures
"So I just found the solarpunk tag

and WOW gorgeous concepts, I love the idea of a near-future punk subculture that’s actually a usable way of life, not to mention a positive influence on communities

but

what the hell is up with the art noveau thing?

Really. I’ve read that it’s a choice for differentiation from steampunk, etc, but I think you’re missing the point. Steampunk is Victorian because that’s the point of development where it diverged from reality as we know it. It’s all stripped-down gears and pipes and glowing aetheric devices BECAUSE steampunk cultures are trying to survive in an apocalyptically harsh world with eldritch incursion and exploration and new tech changing everything.

So, if solarpunk is near-future, as in directly developing from now in our actual world, with sustainability coming first, I’m feeling more DIY-grunge with a nod to both functionality and aesthetics. If we’re really all about local power and decentralization, I’m imagining diverse styles, showing the sheer variety in humanity and culture and different structures working in different climates and local building materials and reflections of local culture and style. I’m hoping for something less classist, less exclusive, less form-over-function.

Keep your hydroponic sculpture. Keep your solar-power stained glass glory. It’s pretty, and it’s something to work toward on cathedral time.

But now? Give me old factories repurposed as urban farmspace. Give me backyard food dehydrators made of reused household trash. Give me dirt and DIY. Give me variety and innovation and things made by teenagers being just as important as high-class elegance. Give me genengineered creatures that are ugly and independent and badass and the very best at what they do. Give me poor solarpunks. Give me DIY tutorials and strangers exchanging mad-science ideas of how to build a better rain filter out of stuff they can scrounge in thrift stores and dumpsters. Give me handmade outfits from scraps of old clothing. Give me equality in education and egalitarianism in identity.

Give me a culture that values how things WORK as more important than how they LOOK."

[via: http://oddhack.tumblr.com/post/99066367131/so-i-just-found-the-solarpunk-tag ]
solarpunk  diy  makers  making  geneticengineering  education  artnoveau  steampunk  nearfuture  decentralization  diversity 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Goddess of the Rainbow — My brain has been buzzing with ‘How did Solarpunk...
"My brain has been buzzing with ‘How did Solarpunk come to be?’ I think it started in two ways, with the people who had loads of money and the people who had none.

The poor started to live in a more sustainable way because it’s cheaper. They insulated their homes, used passive energy practices and collected solar energy because the power company was extortionate, collected rain-water and used grey-water because the city water was metered and the utility company was charging for every drop, they grew food because produce at the supermarket was unaffordable. Recycling, re-purposing, re-using are all cheaper then buying brand new. An earthship home can be built using trash which they can get for free and build themselves with the help of friends and family. Getting together with your neighbors and helping each other means you can save on childcare, medical care (community clinics and home remedies), education (workshops, sharing knowledge and informal apprenticeships), you can swap good and services instead of paying for them. It’s a much cheaper way of living, but doing it all low-tech and on a shoestring means that there’s a lot of drudgery involved and while they have become more resource rich they have become time-poor.

The rich started to live in a more sustainable way because they could just hand over the cash and then feel good about themselves. There’s exciting, cutting edge, sustainable tech being created but it’s beyond the price range of the poor and even the middle class. The rich start living in sustainable, multi-use, skyscrapers with aquaponic farms and sky gardens. They fill their homes with furniture hand crafted from plantation timber (carbon credits, to offset the mileage of import, built into the price), lovely antiques (hey that’s re-using) and brand new items made with 90% recycled materials. They fork over more and more money to the people inventing, producing and maintaining sustainable tech. The oil barons fall and sustainability tzars rise. But they’re disconnected from their tech, they didn’t make it, so when things break down they either have to pay ever greater amounts to the tzars to fix it or they have to replace it which isn’t really sustainable at all. And they’re disconnected from each other, not needing to go out because their homes produce everything they need and social media brings the world to them.

This is where the two classes look to each other. The poor see that some of that tech could reduce their drudgery and give them leisure time. The rich see that the poor are inventive, resourceful and can find ways to repair or work around anything; they have close-knit communities who share and problem-solve to make everyone’s lives better. So trade begins, tech for ideas. It starts with just the rich hiring the poor to fix thing but it grows into so much more. The rich give the poor the means to free up their time and the poor teach the rich how to live closer to their resources and get their hand dirty. This mixing is especially popular with the young. Young people have always loved new ideas and breaking social barriers, and they lead the charge in the merging of these two societies. They share music and art and fashion. They look to the past for inspiration and re-invent Art Nouveau - it starts as a fad but is soon embraced by everyone. Community forms, with different groups coming together to solve problems and share ideas. As the young people become adults there is intermarriage and children are born who grow up in both worlds. Then the next generation is born into a world where the divide has all but disappeared, the two societies have merged to a point where you can only see the echoes of how they started.

A vibrant culture of people who live everyday with extremely high tech but who still get their hands in the dirt is realized."

[See also: http://meraina.tumblr.com/post/98140608992/so-ive-had-an-idea ]

[both via: http://oddhack.tumblr.com/post/99066049686 ]
solarpunk  sustainability  2014  technology  class  leisure  artleisure  community  socialmedia  time  energy  repurposing  reuse  recycling  frugality  efficiency  slow  leisurearts 
october 2014 by robertogreco
The Splendid Vagabond: VERY QUICKLY
VERY QUICKLY

[Post peak oil resilient communities]

+ [low-energy computing]

+ [internet of things]

+ [adaptation of past technologies]

---------------

SOLARPUNK.
solarpunk  resilience  peakoil  technology  adaptation  internetofthings  energy  efficiency  iot 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Solarpunk was born (and went to sleep) in 19th C. France $SCTY $SPWR $SUNE $FSLR $CSIQ $TAN | Rooster360
"Could a Solarpunk age have been born in 19th century France?

The world’s first photovoltaic cells were created by 19 year old Edmond Becquerel in 1839. Tinkering in his father’s lab, young Becquerel put silver chloride in an acidic solution, which was illuminated while connected to platinum electrodes, creating voltage and a current. The photovoltaic effect has also been known as the “Becquerel effect” courtesy of this jeune homme. (Footnote: Becquerel’s subsequent research on light would help to substantiate work by another 19th century pioneer in electromagnetism, Michael Faraday.)

About a generation after Becquerel’s discovery, Augustin Mouchot, a French math teacher, helped to create in the 1860s what may have been the first government funded solar power venture. Courtesy of funds from Napoleon III (who may have been worthier than any King Louis for the sobriquet of “Sun King”) Mouchot developed solar powered steam engines, leading to the world’s first solar power farm in what was French Algeria. Alas the prospects of the birth of a carbon free age were put on hold, courtesy of a French government report about recent efficiencies in coal mining and a free trade pact, the Cobden-Chevaliar treaty, with the United Kingdom.

Interrupted by macro-events, such as the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and free trade with the UK, the first Solar Age was prematurely born and went into coma, slowly awakening upon an announcement by Bell Labs in 1954 that it had developed solar cells with 6% efficiency. The New York Times trumpeted the promise of the “limitless energy of the sun” but it was still early days.

Coal would be supplanted by petroleum, as solar bided its time, apparently relegated to the roofs of homebuilding mavericks, progressive communes, research labs and science fairs.

Here we are 150-plus years after Becquerel, and cutting edge solar cells are at about 45% efficiency and climbing, albeit within the coddled R&D environment or for high end deep pocket situations for NASA’s needs in outer space, but those Frenchmen may yet have the last laugh by the 200th anniversary of Becquerel’s discovery with a solar power renaissance."
solarpunk  history  energy  edmondbecquerel  1839  augustinmouchot 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Eh, Flynn on Twitter: ""Oh, I guess I should see if anyone made a solarpunk board on pinterest." THERE ARE 46 OF THEM."
[great thread here]

[Starts with:]
"Oh, I guess I should see if anyone made a solarpunk board on pinterest." THERE ARE 46 OF THEM."
https://twitter.com/Threadbare/status/517715485106790400

[some highlights:]

@Dymaxion Been reading Seeing Like A State for book club and reflecting on how much of solarpunk comes out of 'fuck high modernism.'
https://twitter.com/Threadbare/status/517726051984633856

"@Threadbare Yeah. I confess I'm still unsure about it. I guess I feel like the way forward is half solarpunk, half walmart+socialism."
https://twitter.com/Dymaxion/status/517738774298886144

"@Dymaxion Yah, I ponder that; even if you have a bunch of idyllic yeoman maker communities, you still need an industrial base + governance."
https://twitter.com/Threadbare/status/517739529277427712

".@Threadbare Yes - "Maker" is a charismatic not-that-megafauna playing tricks with the last mile of the global infrastructural supplychain."
https://twitter.com/Dymaxion/status/517739932732096512

"@Threadbare And everything that really makes an impact is basically in the infrastructural/governance layers."
https://twitter.com/Dymaxion/status/517740048050315267

"@Threadbare Hong Kong and Sinagpore still feel more like the future than your average hackerspace, problematic governance and all."
https://twitter.com/Dymaxion/status/517740166220640256

"@Dymaxion My friend @ChrisBurkeShay once described Hong Kong as "eighties-future.""
https://twitter.com/Threadbare/status/517740315243851776

"@Threadbare @Dymaxion theme of fictional something I'm working on: how much does getting 'off grid' become an abandonment of solidarity?"
https://twitter.com/timmaughan/status/517740324492685313

"@timmaughan @Dymaxion This is partly why I've tried to focus on communities, not households, as the place to do things."
https://twitter.com/Threadbare/status/517740548719792128

"@Threadbare @timmaughan That's a big step in the right direction, because if nothing else we need to reinvent communitas anyway."
https://twitter.com/Dymaxion/status/517740732422316034

"@timmaughan @Dymaxion Communities/cities as largest polity a public can reasonably affect, lived experience transcends filter bubbles..."
https://twitter.com/Threadbare/status/517740795365830656

"@Threadbare @Dymaxion of course, but what differentiates those communities from say, seasteaders?"
https://twitter.com/timmaughan/status/517740990556557313

[continues]
solarpunk  anarchism  infrastructure  community  communities  cities  2014  communitas  polity  future  futures  governance  seeinglikeastate  jamescscott  highmodernism  modernism  yeomen  eleanoraitta  timmaughan 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Land of Masks and Jewels, Here’s a thing I’ve had around in my head for a...
"Here’s a thing I’ve had around in my head for a while!

Okay, so I’m pretty sure that by now everyone at least is aware of Steampunk, with it’s completely awesome Victorian sci-fi aesthetic. But what I want to see is Solarpunk – a plausible near-future sci-fi genre, which I like to imagine as based on updated Art Nouveau, Victorian, and Edwardian aesthetics, combined with a green and renewable energy movement to create a world in which children grow up being taught about building electronic tech as well as food gardening and other skills, and people have come back around to appreciating artisans and craftspeople, from stonemasons and smithies, to dress makers and jewelers, and everyone in between. A balance of sustainable energy-powered tech, environmental cities, and wicked cool aesthetics.

A lot of people seem to share a vision of futuristic tech and architecture that looks a lot like an ipod – smooth and geometrical and white. Which imo is a little boring and sterile, which is why I picked out an Art Nouveau aesthetic for this.

With energy costs at a low, I like to imagine people being more inclined to focus their expendable income on the arts!

Aesthetically my vision of solarpunk is very similar to steampunk, but with electronic technology, and an Art Nouveau veneer.

So here are some buzz words~

Natural colors!
Art Nouveau!
Handcrafted wares!
Tailors and dressmakers!
Streetcars!
Airships!
Stained glass window solar panels!!!
Education in tech and food growing!
Less corporate capitalism, and more small businesses!
Solar rooftops and roadways!
Communal greenhouses on top of apartments!
Electric cars with old-fashioned looks!
No-cars-allowed walkways lined with independent shops!
Renewable energy-powered Art Nouveau-styled tech life!

Can you imagine how pretty it would be to have stained glass windows everywhere that are actually solar panels? The tech is already headed in that direction! Or how about wide-brim hats, or parasols that are topped with discreet solar panel tech incorporated into the design, with ports you can stick your phone charger in to?

(((Character art by me; click the cityscape pieces to see artist names)))"

[See also: http://missolivialouise.tumblr.com/tagged/solarpunk-tag ]
solarpunk  solar  futures  art  future  artnoveau  craft  make  makers  making  steampunk  victorian  nearfuture  sciencefiction  scifi  energy  edwardian  sustainability  2014 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Solarpunk: Notes toward a manifesto | Project Hieroglyph
"It’s hard out here for futurists under 30.

As we percolated through our respective nations’ education systems, we were exposed to WorldChanging and TED talks, to artfully-designed green consumerism and sustainable development NGOs. Yet we also grew up with doomsday predictions slated to hit before our expected retirement ages, with the slow but inexorable militarization of metropolitan police departments, with the failure of the existing political order to deal with the existential-but-not-yet-urgent threat of climate change. Many of us feel it’s unethical to bring children into a world like ours. We have grown up under a shadow, and if we sometimes resemble fungus it should be taken as a credit to our adaptability.

We’re solarpunks because the only other options are denial or despair.

The promises offered by most Singulatarians and Transhumanists are individualist and unsustainable: How many of them are scoped for a world where energy is not cheap and plentiful, to say nothing of rare earth elements?

Solarpunk is about finding ways to make life more wonderful for us right now, and more importantly for the generations that follow us – i.e., extending human life at the species level, rather than individually. Our future must involve repurposing and creating new things from what we already have (instead of 20th century “destroy it all and build something completely different” modernism). Our futurism is not nihilistic like cyberpunk and it avoids steampunk’s potentially quasi-reactionary tendencies: it is about ingenuity, generativity, independence, and community.

And yes, there’s a -punk there, and not just because it’s become a trendy suffix. There’s an oppositional quality to solarpunk, but it’s an opposition that begins with infrastructure as a form of resistance. We’re already seeing it in the struggles of public utilities to deal with the explosion in rooftop solar. “Dealing with infrastructure is a protection against being robbed of one’s self-determination,” said Chokwe Lumumba, the late mayor of Jackson, MS, and he was right. Certainly there are good reasons to have a grid, and we don’t want it to rot away, but one of the healthy things about local resilience is that it puts you in a much better bargaining position against the people who might want to shut you off (We’re looking at you, Detroit).

Solarpunk punkSolarpunk draws on the ideal of Jefferson’s yeoman farmer, Ghandi’s ideal of swadeshi and subsequent Salt March, and countless other traditions of innovative dissent. (FWIW, both Ghandi and Jefferson were inventors.)

The visual aesthetics of Solarpunk are open and evolving. As it stands, it’s a mash-up of the following:

• 1800s age-of-sail/frontier living (but with more bicycles)
• Creative reuse of existing infrastructure (sometimes post-apocalyptic, sometimes present-weird)
• Jugaad-style innovation from the developing world
• High-tech backends with simple, elegant outputs

Obviously, the further you get into the future, the more ambitious you can get. In the long-term, solarpunk takes the images we’ve been fed by bright-green blogs and draws them out further, longer, and deeper. Imagine permaculturists thinking in cathedral time. Consider terraced irrigation systems that also act as fluidic computers. Contemplate the life of a Department of Reclamation officer managing a sparsely populated American southwest given over to solar collection and pump storage. Imagine “smart cities” being junked in favor of smart citizenry.

Tumblr lit up within the last week from this post envisioning a form of solar punk with an art nouveau Edwardian-garden aesthetic, which is gorgeous and reminds me of Miyazaki. There’s something lovely in the way it reacts against the mainstream visions of overly smooth, clean, white modernist iPod futures. Solarpunk is a future with a human face and dirt behind its ears."

[via: https://twitter.com/jqtrde/status/519152576797745153 ]
solarpunk  future  futures  jugaad  green  frontier  bikes  biking  technology  imagination  nearfuture  detroit  worldchanging  ted  ngos  sustainability  singularitarianism  individuality  cyberpunk  steampunk  ingenuity  generativity  independence  community  punk  infrastucture  resistance  solar  chokwelumumba  resilience  thomasjefferson  yeomen  ghandi  swadeshi  invention  hacking  making  makers  hackers  reuse  repurposing  permaculture  adamflynn  denial  despair  optimism  cando  posthumanism  transhumanism  chokweantarlumumba 
october 2014 by robertogreco

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