Today is the first day of Solarpunk Action Week! What is Solarpunk Action Week? Well, you can click the link, but basically it’s a week for getting that solarpunk to-do list finally conquered!
What’s solarpunk? It began as a sci-fi aesthetic in which people survived post-apocalyptic or nearly-apocalyptic circumstances by banding together, helping each other out, sharing knowledge and resources, and converting to renewable local resources and local sustainable economies. And then a bunch of people said “Why the fuck is that sci-fi? Not only do we need that now, but this stuff is actually completely obtainable. Let’s band together with our communities! Let’s stand up for each other’s human rights! Let’s build a local economy of shared and renewable resources!”
Sounds too good to be true, right? A lot of people have said that. But you start small. You do what you can. One of the great things about solarpunk is that it’s not performative like buying metal straws and having the latest cool water bottle and dumping your Honda in the scrapyard so you can buy a Tesla. It’s about the small actions that make real change. First for yourself, and then for your community.
I’ll be real with you, Kendra and I live in a snobby community that once made a neighbour get rid of her compost bin because it might stink one day. I looked it up and there’s not an actual bylaw for that, but she believed they had the right to demand it. Kendra, having not grown up a redneck like me, is more embarrassed than me by such social pressures. (Rednecks often use the porch as a storage space, the wilderness as a compost bin, and the lawn as a parking area. Suburbanites think that’s ugly and uncouth.) So there has been an effort to make things conform somewhat so that uppity people will make less comments. All that is to say, we aren’t really banded together with our community, despite our ideals, are we?
But by slowly turning our lawn into an edible forest, we’re setting an example for sustainability. We also have plans for a little lending library (and bench) by the community mailbox since that was put on our property. We’ll also put over-abundant fruit and veg out there with a sign for neighbours to take what they want when our garden produces too much. And when I’m outside gardening, the neighbourhood children come by and ask questions because I’m doing things so differently from their parents. Occasionally, the adults do too. I am absolutely confident that as our beautiful forest grows and we spread knowledge through the library, we’ll go from the oddballs that the bougie neighbours give the stink eye to to the allies who showed moms how attainable cheap, healthy food is and how beautiful a tiny farm can be. How attainable and sustainable and eco-friendly and cheap this lifestyle is.
Take care of your needs first with small changes, and the community and big changes will follow.
Sounds awesome right? So maybe now you’re wondering what a Solarpunk action is and what people are doing for Solarpunk Action Week. Well, if you follow that link, you’ll see lots of activities mentioned. As you may have caught on, a lot are garden-focused. Solarpunk Action Week coincides with Worm Moon and the perfect time to prepare garden beds, start seeds indoors, and (if your far enough south) maybe even start planting the hardier garden plants.
For us? We’re keeping it simple. I’m going to be sheet mulching a large swath of lawn to remove more of our useless grass. I’m also going to be tackling the clothing repair pile. If I find time, I plan to repair and seal some cracked and chipped dishes. If weather and back pain permit, I may also apply repairs to our tent.
And honestly, these are things I should be doing all the time. And I’ll be trying to. But often it’s hard to turn good intentions into actions, and that’s what action weeks like this are for. To use a fun group initiative to act as motivation to finally get up off your butt and do the things you’ve been meaning to. In this case, all the things that make your life a little more sustainable, eco-friendly, or community-connected.