Today’s Solutions: October 05, 2022

Solarpunk, a term coined in 2008, envisions a world with floating villages, clean energy, and humans living in harmony with nature.

“Solarpunk is really the only solution to the existential corner of climate disaster we have backed ourselves into as a species,” Michelle Tulumello, a solarpunk art teacher in New York state tells BBC. “If we wish to survive and keep some of the things we care about on the earth with us, it involves a necessary fundamental alteration in our world view where we change our outlook completely from competitive to cooperative.”

But, what application does this art movement have in the real world, if any?

Projects like Iceland’s entirely hydro and geothermal-powered energy system and Climeworks‘ carbon capture initiatives are perfect examples of solarpunk thinking.

Madison Savilow is the venture lead of Expedition Air, a Solarpunk-inspired company that sells items like T-shirts made from carbon-captured material.

“We’ve used art and consumer products to de-risk the uptake of this novel material and start conversations with companies that have the production capacity to actually move the needle in terms of carbon reduction,” Savilow tells BBC.

The end goal of Solarpunk minded thinkers, however, is less to be inspirational and more to create tangible change.

“I believe our views are gaining traction there. Small, nimble, eco-friendly high-tech startups with cooperative structures will be the kind of companies solarpunks will support. Something like a cooperative, worker-owned business model would be more likely to maintain its principles and its commitment to sustainability and carbon neutrality,” Savilow says.

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