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Re: %ANMeAPs9y

i'm far from an expert here, but it seems like energy is a big obstacle for certain kinds of tasks. i wonder what alternative energy sources are out there that we could harness for solarpunk settlements? %cKL5BuY...

maybe the solution isn't harnessing more energy, but using it more efficiently? what are the limits there?

Re: %ANMeAPs9y

There's a tension in solarpunk between it being aspirational, and it being prescriptive. If it's treated as a traditional genre, it has to somehow have a common look and feel, but treated as a goal, a much more messy space of many different approaches opens up. So I don't get much out of the illustrations that all feel somehow the same.

Re: %ANMeAPs9y

@luroc asked,

I guess what I don't understand is if the diy- and "self-sufficient small communities"-aspect of solarpunk is coming from "we have to start somewhere" or "that is a good overall principle for the society". Would be glad if you could point me in some direction there.

Speaking for my self, I think it's a bit of both.

There is certainly a big aspect for "we have to start somewhere", because we do. Even if we were the ones who decided how the world was organized, and could unilaterally order everyone, "hey we gotta live efficiently within the planet's resources" we'd still need to carefully roll things out one step at a time. Also, because we don't even know what will work well yet! So we need to experiment, and it's way easier to do a small scale experiment!

Secondly, I think there is an aspect of "good overall principle" at least, there is something in that sort of lifestyle that is intrinsically appealing. But, on the other hand, again, smallness gives the freedom to experiment. I also don't think you should take this too literally: instead take it metaphorically: it's about the social relations that hold society together, and that being explicitly village like, or something like that. So I think we are attracted to the idea of solarpunk because we want something different. But this too is a have-to-start-somewhere, really, because a community of radicals who want to do everything differently, will become very different when lots of people start to get on board.

But the idea that everyone on earth should live in a little village and grow their own food, (anarchoprimitivist model) I'd say: No. I'm pretty sure no one waving the "solarpunk" flag advocates that as the singular solution to the world's problems (especially since solarpunk is explicitly tech-positive), although that's not to say that there are not people who do want to live like that.

Re: %ANMeAPs9y


maybe the solution isn't harnessing more energy, but using it more efficiently?

From my point of view, this is the key challenge. If we aim for a 10-100x reduction in energy/resource usage, I believe we will be in the right ballpark. For example, an electric bike uses 300x less batteries than a Tesla, or said differently you can equip 300 people with electric bikes rather than a single one with a Tesla. A 15 kg bike uses also 100x less material than a 1.5 ton car.

The most efficient velomobiles can go 34 km/h with 100W (reasonable effort for an average person). When you factor in the time you spend stuck in traffic when driving a car, that's only a factor of 2-3 slower than a car on average.

But building a velomobile is labour intensive and the market is too small for mass production. So I think the key to make them accessible to the nascent solarpunk community is to train people to learn how to make their own and have accessible and cheap, potentially nomad, makerhubs to build them. The Atomic Zombie plans are a great place to learn how to build your own bike from inexpensive components.

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