November 30, 2022


We need to change our very understanding of nature. Or more specifically, our relationship with nature. We need to see it not as something to exploit, or restrain ourselves from exploiting, but rather as a continuation of ourselves. We desire a world where our choices don’t feel like choosing the lesser of environmental evils–where we can fully enjoy our lives without destroying a river or a rainforest in the process.

This is the second part of my conversation with Chaia Heller, author of The Ecology of Everyday Life, as well as lifelong activist and teacher. In this episode we bring her theory of the five aspects of social desire to life, showing how this theory unfolds into practice: direct actions, illustrative opposition, building alternative political structures, and beyond! The theories of social ecology and social desire provide a rational basis for solarpunk projects of all kinds.


When it comes to doing our part to “save the environment”, we’re often limited to making superficial choices as consumers. Choices which don’t do much, if at all, to preserve or improve the health of our planet. What if we had a real choice? What if our ways of life–from basic needs to our deepest desires–were aligned with ecology, rather than in tension with it?

In this episode I sit down with Chaia Heller, author of The Ecology of Everyday Life, to discuss social ecology and her work developing a philosophy and politics of social desire. Social ecology, starting with the work of Murray Bookchin, draws from sources like Marxism, feminism, and the environmental movement to develop a rational society that values both social justice and the environment. Chaia expands on this, drawing from feminist theories of desire and the erotic, to show how a rational ecological society should emphasize enjoyment, not just satisfying basic needs. Sounds pretty solarpunk to me!