How Solarpunks saved the planet, a recap of history

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The year is 2068. Solarpunk life dominates the planet, which for the first time in centuries, is thriving. Here’s a recap of how it all happened.

“Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible!” was the motto of the general strike and student protests of May 1968 in Paris. The first anti-consumerist punks were born around that time, and arguably the movement sparked the first ideas for Solarpunk.

Today in 2068, I can’t help but think that the protesters of 1968 were the pathfinders for my generation’s salvation on this planet. Years after the 1968 protests, my forefathers — Solarpunks — imagined the impossible and saved humanity.

Before Solarpunk
In 1968 workers had to roar in outrage, go out onto the streets, and demand higher wages for jobs that would eventually cause the biggest ecological crisis experienced in history. Back then, people didn’t know the future consequences of the massive production of consumer goods and subsequent extreme consumerism.

People were happy about “economic booms” because that meant they could consume more. Little did they know, economic boom translated into ecological doom.

And when they did realize, somewhere in the 2000s, how capitalism erodes all that is living, it was almost too late. The capitalist state still tried to promote “green growth” for another 30 years; greedy capitalism tried to wear an ecological face.

The early Solarpunks
The early Solarpunks lived in polluted, unsustainable, consumption-driven cities. They always laid low on the political and environmental radar. Instead, they created solar oases in their homes and nurtured a budding Solarpunk lifestyle for future generations.

They formed communities through the social network Scuttlebutt, where they exchanged ideas on ways to live a Solarpunk life. This social media platform was “alternative” back then because it was decentralized, private, and encrypted. My parents learned about the Solarpunk lifestyle there.

Despite having small living spaces, early Solarpunks housed many plants in their homes. They cultivated gardens indoors and started micro-farms outdoors. They also boycotted straws, plastic tubes used to slurp drinks, and converted their plastic waste with a 3D printer. Back in 2018, this was not the norm; society believed that such a lifestyle was too time-consuming.

The 2030 crisis
My parents witnessed humanity hit rock bottom around 2030. The plastic crisis was out of control, and ocean trash had accumulated to areas larger than continents. Every minute, one garbage truck worth of trash was dumped into the oceans. People evacuated numerous cities because they ran out of water. It looked like humankind had dug itself into a grave, too deep to survive.

The air was extremely toxic to breathe, it was called “smog.” And there wasn’t only pollution in the air, there also was despair. All of a sudden, hope for the future disappeared, a dystopian reality seemed imminent.

Once the capitalist state finally understood that the thirst for economic growth had doomed humanity, it resigned. The system that reigned for 150 years had nothing more to offer.

People were waiting for a coup d'état; religious people feared Armageddon. But what society didn’t know was that since 2008, bands of Solarpunks were gradually emerging. They were imagining and working on a future where humans could live in harmony with the planet again. Despite the dissolving system around them, they were optimistic about the future.

Enter Solarpunk era
When capitalism dissolved, Solarpunks didn’t plan a secret operation to seize power and change the world in one day. They led humanity by example; there was no one leader. Solarpunks were in all societies, all over the world and their lifestyle became extremely pertinent at a time of chaos. From the bottom up, societies converted to Solarpunk lives without coercion. You either solared-up or didn’t exist at all, collective action was imperative.

From the beginning, Solarpunks weren’t afraid to imagine a new reality. A reality in which humans don’t leach off the planet but live harmoniously with all species. They injected the world with “a fresh dose of techno-ecological utopianism.” They saw opportunities rather than a set of all-consuming problems. These “anarchists” steered humanity towards solar salvation.

The planet became entirely powered by renewable energy.

Plastic continents were converted to biomimetic architecture, which uses advanced renewable energy sources to create structures that were self-sufficient. Since all buildings and homes were self-sufficient, energy became completely decentralized. After all, (non-renewable) energy was the reason for many wars and clashes in history. The planet experienced terrible oil spills and fracking, oh it was all too awful to describe...

Thanks to Solarpunk technology, all infrastructure is capable of producing and storing its own energy from the sun or the wind.

All these societal and technological changes helped convert urban cities into urban jungles, where the air was no longer toxic. Worldwide health improved because of purer air, fewer toxins in food, and thickened ozone. A newfound respect for nature and technology emerged.

These elements are always in balance now: nature and progress. Keeping this balance is vital; the way to do so is to control the human desire to be the superior species by guiding people to live an egalitarian life in harmony with others.

I am the first generation to be born into a Solarpunk society; what I, we, must remember is that the extraordinary power humans have on this planet, come with extraordinary responsibilities — never forget 2030.

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  • 11 Charitable organizations that are worthy of your end-of-year donations

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    December is the time of year when mailboxes, both physical and virtual, start to fill with requests for donations from charitable organizations of all kinds.

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    "Will the organization make good use of my hard-earned money? How can I know if they have been involved in scandals? Are their interventions actually effective?" are some of the questions we all want to ask before we make our Christmas donations.

    As you might know, here at Kinder World we're all about effective giving. That's why we picked 11 outstanding charitable organizations that we thoroughly vetted and determined to be worthy of your cash.

    If you want to know more about how we vet organizations, please have a look at the dedicated page.

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    1. Favela Painting

    The first Favela Painting project took place in 2005 when artists Haas & Hahn (Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn) painted a large mural with local community members in Rio de Janeiro.

    The local and global impact of this project inspired them to continue creating large-scale community art projects across the world.

    2. Strongminds

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    Depression is the most prevalent mental illness in the developing world. In Africa, it’s devastating: 66 million women are suffering. The great majority have no medical services to turn to for help.

    3. Cool Earth

    Cool Earth is an organisation that works alongside rainforest communities to halt deforestation and climate change.

    Of them, Sir David Attenborough said: "Helping Cool Earth to halt tropical deforestation makes a real difference. Perhaps the biggest difference we will make in our whole lives.”

    4. Sightsavers

    Sightsavers works on preventing sight loss and avoidable blindness in some of the poorest parts of the world by treating conditions such as cataracts and fighting other debilitating eye diseases.

    In 2017 alone, the organisation has supported more than 316.000 cataracts operations.

    5. Steun Emma

    Steun Emma is a children’s hospital in Amsterdam. They have a renowned neonatology department that provides premature babies and their parents with care and comfort in this most difficult time along with high-quality scientific research.

    They are now on a mission to improve their facilities to make the lives of parents and babies easier and the hospital’s research even more extensive to help as many people as they can.

    6. Simavi

    Simavi is an organisation tackling water, sanitation and health challenges to stop preventable diseases, reduce mortality rates and boost social and economic development.

    Guided by the principle that "health is the first step out of poverty", they are working to guarantee basic health to everyone.

    7. NSGK

    NSGK is a Dutch organization that helps children and youngsters with disabilities to get rid of obstacles.

    They want to make society more accessible for disabled children, strengthening their self-confidence and contribute to positive imaging so that children with and without disabilities can play, learn, play sports, live and grow up not apart but together.

    8. Human Rights Watch

    Human Rights Watch is an international organisation that conducts research and advocacy on human rights.

    Founded in 1978, it publishes more than 100 reports and briefings on human rights conditions in some 90 countries each year.

    9. ProVeg Nederland

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    10. Max Foundation

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  • Your cleaning products can be 80 percent more sustainable

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    Most of the household products that we use for cleaning — from our bodies to last night's dishes — are 80 percent water. Which means most of the packaging for cleaning products is used to contain water which most of us have on tap at our homes.

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    Moderation is the last thing on people’s minds at Christmas. Shopping, travelling and eating reach peak levels – putting pressure on our planet. Even Santa poses a problem. If you don’t believe in flying reindeers, that sleigh must be rocket-fuelled to reach the supersonic speeds needed to travel around the world to visit hundreds of millions of children in just one night using conventional engineering.

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    1. Reduce food waste

    The amount of food wasted at Christmas has a massive carbon (and water) footprint. Using less and storing excess in a winter wonderland – your freezer – is a great way to avoid waste. If leftover food doesn’t go in the freezer, cooked turkey and vegetables will keep for up to three days in the fridge.

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    5. It’s the thought that counts

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    This article is republished from The Conversation by Sharon George, Lecturer in Environmental Science, Keele University, under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

    ➡️Another gift idea to make your Christmas more sustainable might be to donate to Cool Earth, a high-impact organization that we thoroughly vetted.

    Cool Earth is not only an offset scheme. It provides grant funding to rainforest communities, supporting community work in rainforest protection and ensures their voice is heard in agreements about the future of the rainforests.

    You too can help to save our planet. A more liveable Earth is just a click away 👇

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