We really seem to indulge in dystopian thinking. And we love it. And I really wonder why that happens. I don’t know how you feel about this, but it really stresses me out. And it kind of bothers me that it’s still a lot of times easier to imagine the end of the world than how we could live on a sustainable planet.
Many of the concerns of the cyberpunk genre have come true. The rise of corporate power, ubiquitous computation, and the like. Robot limbs and cool VR goggles. But in many ways, it’s far far worse.
When we think about short-term thinking, how short-term is short-term? Because if you plant a tree, like an oak tree, it takes 100 to 120 years for an oak tree to be fully grown. So anything between the point in which you plant the tree to when the tree is fully grown is short-term thinking, when we speak about land.
Cyberpunks, they’re out pirating data and uploading their brains into video games. Solarpunks are revitalizing watersheds, mapping radiation after disaster or war, and bringing back pollinator populations. And since all great speculative fiction is really not about the future but about about the present, cyberpunk is about the politics of the 1980s, right. It was about urban decay and corporate power and globalization. In the same way, solarpunk is really about the politics of right now. Which means it’s about global social justice, the failures of late capitalism, and the climate crisis.