50 Shades of Solarpunk
Ariel and Christina open Season 3 with a chat about what solarpunk, or, at least this solarpunk podcast, is setting out to achieve… according to how Ariel sees it. With her occasionally curmudgeonly devil’s advocacy, Christina provides the nuance we need as we push through topics, including the definition of solarpunk in a time of slippery postmodern language (that, in true solarpunk fashion, changes according to cultural context and locale), the Anthropocene and its multiple issues, mix-tape metaphors, Ursula K LeGuin’s Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, aesthetics (of course), infrastructure as resistance, and a liiiiittle bit of academic theory.
- Almanac for the Anthropocene
- "Solarpunk: A Container for More Fertile Futures" by Jay Springett in Solarpunk Magazine
- Listen to Season 1 here!
- Listen to Season 2 here!
- The Solarpunk Presents Pinterest has examples of solarpunk aesthetics we dig.
- Cruising Utopia by José Esteban Muñoz
- Posthuman feminism definition
- Postmodern linguistics / language plus a more philosophical definition of postmodernism
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2. Solarpunk Considers Cohousing, With Hermina Joldersma42:06In this episode, Ariel talks to Hermina Joldersma, professor emerita at University of Calgary, about alternative housing arrangements, focusing on co-housing. They discuss not only Hermina’s experiences living in different types of housing, but the mindset necessary to co-housing and communal life, and the way that community often has to be intentionally created. Tune in now!Links:Hermina Joldersma’s profile page at University of CalgaryHermina Joldersma at Fibre Art NetworkUrban Green CohousingCBC article on Urban Green and co-housing in CanadaCoHo BC official websiteSupport Solarpunk Presents podcast at https://www.patreon.com/solarpunkpresents
1. Solarpunk Housing, With Ariel & Christina36:28In this kick-off of Season 4, Ariel and Christina tackle the topic of housing. It is one of the central imaginings of solarpunk, after all. And it’s something we’re not doing very well in the present. How could solarpunk expand its dreams of housing beyond the aesthetic and into the realm of the practical? Can solarpunk envision not just greenery and solar-panel-draped dwellings, but housing that would meet people’s needs, not just for shelter, but comfort, mental health, emotional and physical support, ease of access, friendship and community, and culture, while also being affordable to everyone, energy efficient, and not contributing to urban sprawl? It seems like a tall order, but we want to make it a present reality. Tune in as we discuss!
10. How to Change Cultural Norms: Ariel and Christina Discuss46:57Solarpunk’s envisioning of a future that we’d like to live in isn’t just about providing a vision for us to aim for, it’s also about changing cultural norms in the present so that we can actually get to that future. Solarpunk storytelling is in no small part about normalizing the things we want to support and develop, such as sustainability, wild and productive gardens, social justice, and cohesive, supportive communities. On the flip side, solarpunk strives to make taboo or erase completely the attitudes and entire industries that are anti-human and anti-planet; we’re thinking about racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, misogyny, fossil fuels, petrochemical pesticides, overly industrialized agriculture, etc. But, aside from storytelling, how do we change the norms of the cultures that we’re living in at all, much less to be more in line with a solarpunk ethos? Is there a secret sauce that works every time? And if we knew the answer, would we be even having this conversation in the first place? Tune in as we discuss.Links:Flying pumpkin wear your seatbelt adArticle on Swiss behaviour changes due to Fridays for Future
9. Bri Castagnozzi of Solarpunk Magazine on Solarpunk, Art, and AI42:32In this episode, Brianna Castagnozzi, one of the editors-in-chief of Solarpunk Magazine, is here to give up the solarpunk artist’s eye view on solarpunk art and AI; a very different take than the solarpunk hacker’s view given to us by John Threat in season three episode seven. As much as I (Christina) was convinced by John’s advice not to stick your head in the sand but to master the tools of your capitalist overlords, Bri has equally compelling points about not joining into an activity that exploits the work of artists without their consent and without compensating them.Join us!You can follow Bri and her art at @mosshawkarts on xitter and Tumblr and at @mosshawk_arts at YouTube and Instagram.
8. Protecting the Environment With GIS: Mapping WWII's Sunken Ships with Paul Heersink30:38This week, Ariel chats with Paul Heersink, cartographer and Program Manager for the Roads and Addresses program at ESRI Canada. Formerly, he was Production Manager of the Community Maps Program: an initiative that is aiming to build a seamless topographic basemap of Canada using contributor data, and the Roads and Addresses program aims to do the same with community-sourced data, building a navigable map of Canada with the most up-to-date information provided by those who know it best.Paul also personally maintains and updates a map of the sunken battleships (and other naval vessels) that were downed during World War Two. Paul’s map combines two of his interests - cartography and WWII history and, though it started as a passion project outside of work, Paul has been approached by numerous organizations since publishing his data that are very interested in using it to support salvaging and reclamation efforts. The ships have been called “ticking ecological time bombs” as they are carrying crude oil, munitions, and other toxic materials that can leach into the water around them as the hulls degrade. That said, some also contain traditional treasure! Join us for a discussion about the details.Links:Paul’s official ESRI bio page.The ESRI Community Map of CanadaResurfacing the Past article on Paul’s work from ESRISunken Ships of the Second World War (interactive map)YouTube video of the animated mapNews and other articles featuring Paul’s work.Uboat.net - The site that kicked off Paul’s curiosityDocumentary on this topic
7. Come Play in Solarpunk’s Future Garden, With John Threat48:17Between September 15 to 24, 2023, you can go be a part of renowned hacktivist, writer/director, and creative futurist John Threat’s Zukunft Garden—a solarpunk future garden—that’s part of Vision2030’s Earth Edition festival at CalArts, in Santa Clarita, near Los Angeles. Join us for this episode, where John talks to Christina about this social art installation, what it means and can signify for participants, and the inspiration behind it. They discuss John's background as a hacker, an activist, a cyberpunk and, most recently, a solarpunk dedicated to thinking outside of the systems of this world.Stay tuned also for what John has to say about what solarpunk can do with AI art and why we should be engaging with AI technology, rather than ignoring it outright - as John points out, corporations will still be using AI, and it's incumbent on solarpunks to know thy enemy ... or at least, to be able to know enough about new technologies to decide whether or not to use them as tools for community support and envisioning better futures, rather than taking advantage of others.Useful links:Zukunft Garden official siteEarth Edition Festival official siteVisions 2030 official site"What Is Solarpunk?" YouTube video by AndrewismThe Solarpunk Conference official site
6. Propaganda and Petroturfing with Dr Jordan Kinder47:48What is petroturfing? What is an energy imaginary? If, as Thomas King says, we are all stories, how can we make sense of which stories are leading us to an understanding of things as they are, rather than misrepresenting reality or persuading us to take a biased view? And what can we do when we learn to critically interpret the world around us? What are some concrete actions we can take as regular folks if we decide that we want to push back against this narrative of “ethical oil” and intervene in the reactionary oil culture war?Dr Jordan Kinder has spent the last decade of his life thinking about these questions, specifically in the context of the Canadian oil industry and Alberta. The result? His new book Petroturfing: Refining Canadian Oil, which covers these topics and more, forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press in spring 2024. Join Ariel and Jordan to learn about the many competing narratives about (and even by!) Canadian oil and gas—including but not limited to being labelled dirty oil, ethical oil, one of the world’s leading polluters, an underdog industry under attack, a Canadian success story, the ball and chain around Canada’s neck as it tries to avert climate catastrophe, and the list goes on…References:Just Powers Petrocultures Research GroupSolaritiesEnergy HumanitiesKinder, Jordan “Mystifying Oil Today” for HeliotropeKinder, Jordan “Tailings, Unconventional: Sedimented Horizons for More Equitable Energy Futures” for Against CatastropheSocials:Connect with Jordan at jbkinder.github.ioConnect with Solarpunk Presents Podcast on Twitter, Mastodon, or at solarpunkpresents.com.Support the show on Patreon or make a one-time donation via PayPal.
5. Birdwatching as a Gateway to Environmental Activism: A Conversation With Prof. Cin-Ty Lee44:23Birdwatchers. They’re both easy to envy (They know so much!) and laugh at (What nerds!). Yet birdwatching is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to connect with nature. Yes, as we discuss with Cin-Ty Lee, professor of geology at Rice University in Texas and author of the Field Guide to North American Flycatchers: Empidonax and Pewees, you could go buy all the books and gear and then book trips all over the world to start checking off boxes on your life list. Or you could just sit and watch out the window at whatever birds are out there where you live. All birds are interesting! And, as Christina and Prof. Lee discuss in this episode, watching them is habit-forming in a way that makes people of all political stripes want to start protecting their habitats. This doesn’t need to mean lying down in front of tractors. Instead, it could mean working to improve small patches of nature within cities and in your own backyard to make them better for birds and the plants and insects the birds need to thrive. Before you know it, you’ll be heading up neighborhood or citywide initiatives to better the spaces around you for the sake of the birds. Socials:You can find Cin-Ty Lee at @CinTyLeeEarth on Twitter, at @cintylee on Instagram, and at http://www.cintylee.org/. Or check out his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/cintylee.Connect with Solarpunk Presents Podcast on Twitter, Mastodon, or at our blog.Support the show on Patreon or make a one-time donation via PayPal.
4. Capitalism, Community, and Friendship with Joey Ayoub47:00Why is it easier to imagine a zombie apocalypse than it is a generative, sustainable future? This question drives Joey Ayoub, host of The Fire These Times: in fact, this season of his pod is partially about solarpunk and generative futures. Tune in today to listen to Ariel and Joey discussing imaginative expansion of solarpunk, the “realist” impulse, climate anxiety and grief, and community building in a crisis. Also The Office. Trust us, it’s an important part of this whole conversation. In this episode, Ariel speaks with Joey Ayoub, host of The Fire These Times podcast and someone who’s been focusing his podcasting and thinking on solarpunk quite a bit in the last while. Joey is a Lebanese writer, researcher, scholar, editor and podcaster currently based in Switzerland since 2020. He is a research associate at the Center for Social Sciences Research and Action and a member of Sustainability Transitions Research Network (STRN), and Degrowth Switzerland, to name just a few organizations he is involved with, and he has been published in more places than I can list here. Join us for this thought-provoking and entertaining conversation.Links/References:SP episode 2.3 on Beirut and the history of Lebanon with JD Harlock SP episode 1.4 on climate grief and chaplaincy with Gabrielle Gelderman Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit Socials:Check out The Fire These Times website, as well as Joey’s personal site, and connect with him on Twitter, Instagram, and Mastodon.Connect with Solarpunk Presents Podcast on Twitter, Mastodon, or at our blog.Support the show on Patreon or make a one-time donation via PayPal.