Solarpunk, a new genre of science fiction, demands radical optimism of its writers and readers. It takes the apocalypse as given, but doesn’t assume the worst of people living through it.

As recent reports from institutions like the IPCC have made apparent, we have entered an era in which climate change will affect life on earth in profound and transformational ways. For many, it already has. But political and corporate interests restrict our ability to even conceive of climate change in the terms necessary to respond to it. Denialism is a farce, proposed liberal reforms are too mild, and mainstream media is insufficiently engaged. In short, things are not looking up. There is a genuine desire within the public to address the climate crisis, but our levers of political accountability, if they ever existed, have failed us spectacularly.

Any potential good news from here on out will have a hard time outrunning the bad news. It’s difficult to imagine what the future will be like, but one thing seems certain: it won’t be better than the present.

Unless you happen to be a reader or writer of solarpunk. For fans of the genre and members of its online communities, the future can look surprisingly — well, sunny.

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