Solarpunk Action Week (SAW) is a grassroots initiative that encourages people to engage in building a better world through eco-friendly, sustainable, social justice, and community-oriented activities in line with the solarpunk ethos. Solarpunk is a genre of speculative fiction that envisions a positive, sustainable future powered by renewable energy sources, particularly solar power. It combines elements of technology, art, and social innovation to imagine a world where society coexists harmoniously with nature.
SAW takes place from Earth Day (April 22nd) to May Day (May 1st). During those ten days, participants engage in a variety of activities to promote environmental sustainability, social justice, and community resilience. SAW serves as a conduit through which our visions and stories of better futures can be brought into the present through tangible community action. There are all kinds of ways that individuals, groups, and communities can participate in SAW.
One way people can participate in Solarpunk Action Week is through urban gardening and permaculture projects. Groups can gather and transform unused or underutilized urban spaces into thriving green areas that contribute to food security, biodiversity, and overall community well-being. Participants can create community gardens, rooftop gardens, vertical gardens on the walls of buildings, or even use seed bombs to get at those hard to reach places. These new, urban green spaces not only provide fresh produce and promote self-sufficiency, but also help to combat the heat island effect in cities and improve air quality.
Another way people can engage with Solarpunk Action Week is by participating in or organizing renewable energy projects. This can include installing solar panels, creating wind turbines, or even setting up small-scale hydroelectric systems. Participants can also host workshops on energy efficiency and sustainable living, teaching community members about ways to reduce their energy consumption and transition to cleaner energy sources. These projects help to raise awareness about the importance of renewable energy and encourage local communities to take an active role in reducing their carbon footprint.
Lastly, and not unrelated to the previous workshop ideas, Solarpunk Action Week is an excellent opportunity for skill-sharing and community-building events. Participants can organize workshops, seminars, or discussion groups focused on various sustainability-related topics such as upcycling, natural building techniques, permaculture design, or eco-friendly transportation. By sharing knowledge and skills, community members can empower one another to become agents of change in their own communities.
Public art installations, performances, and storytelling events can also be organized to showcase the solarpunk aesthetic and values, inspiring creativity and a sense of hope for a more sustainable future. Communities could also organize sign waving parties on street corners, or banner drops on highway overpasses with solarpunk slogans and messaging. Both are a great way to create a lot of visibility for solarpunk ideas without too much time or labor.
If you want to step it up a notch, make your sign waving party or protest specifically about highlighting systemic racism and the way climate change disproportionately affects BIPOC communities, particularly in the Global South.
The aim of the Solarpunk Action Week is to inspire real-world change by encouraging people to take concrete actions that align with the solarpunk vision. This not only raises awareness of the need for a sustainable future but also fosters a sense of hope and optimism in the face of climate change and other global challenges.
What ideas do you have for workshops, skill-shares, or other Solarpunk Action Week activities? Share your ideas in the comments!