Audio

 

Description:

The editors of Strange Matters Magazine want your reading experience to feel like meeting a grad student friend for coffee. Meaning: they explain the most exciting parts of their research, give you all the hot gossip in their field, skip the jargon and elitism, and still deliver the information in a rigorous manner. Strange Matters is thoughtful yet playful, broad in scope yet deep in its analysis. They publish articles in a variety of genres and from a variety of viewpoints, all committed to their mission of “a new culture of open-minded inquiry on the Left.”

Description:

To kick off the New Year and a new season of Solarpunk Now, I’m bringing you a conversation with some other creators in the solarpunk space.

In June last year, I presented a panel at the Solarpunk Conference alongside Andre of HydroponicTrash, Ariel of the Solarpunk Presents Podcast, and Joey of The Fire These Times podcast. Our panel, From Capitalist Realism to a Solarpunk Reality, discussed the thought and action necessary to bring solarpunk to life. We got together after the conference to expand on these ideas and find connections between our related, but distinct areas of research.

 

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AI already poses an immediate danger to our freedom, livelihood, and even our very survival. We don’t need to wait on the singularity for AI to become existential – the resistance starts now.

In this episode, Dan McQuillan (Goldsmiths Department of Computing) critiques AI from an informed, technical basis. We explore the risks of currently existing models, from shaping our subjectivities to eradicating marginalized groups. And finally, Dan makes the case for an anti-fascist alternative – radical care as the antidote to careless tech-solutionism.

 

Description:

AJ is a fashion designer who focuses on making accessible fashion: clothing for diverse bodies, abilities, and genders. His online store–Pocketbean Crafts–sells magical and accessible fashion. He also has a nonprofit, Queering the Spotlight, which provides accessible fashion opportunities for artists and models.

There are a lot of issues with the fashion industry: from labor rights, to a huge carbon footprint, to the lack of options for diverse bodies and abilities. In this episode, AJ offers his view of the problems with the fashion world, and how he’s navigated fashion as a trans man with disabilities. We’ll also learn how AJ challenges harmful norms beginning with the design process, and hear some great ideas for making fashion part of a brighter future!

 

Description:

Measure H was a ballot initiative in the 2022 election in Pasadena, CA (a city in Los Angeles County). The measure–now Article 18 of the city charter–established citywide rent control, “just cause” eviction protections, and a rental housing board to implement the law.

On average, Pasadena is more economically unequal than California, as well as the United States as a whole. Histories of this inequality, as well as redlining and racial covenants, are clearly visible in the city landscape. As you can probably imagine, landlords and landlord associations representing their class interests fought pretty hard against Measure H. But the measure passed (by a lot!), and Pasadena tenants now have the basic protections that were so desperately needed.

On the face of it, Measure H might seem like just another electoral campaign, but my guests today saw it as a lot more. They saw an awakening of political consciousness, and an expansion of the horizon of possibility for disempowered and disillusioned tenants. In this episode I talk with three on-the-ground organizers from the Pasadena Tenants Union: on the state of tenants rights in Pasadena, how this measure changes the playing field, and what they learned in the struggle to get it passed.

 

Description:

Bee Rooney is both a scientist and a socialist. She got her PhD in environmental engineering and science at Caltech (Pasadena, CA), and now organizes with the Socialists of Caltech and Pasadena Tenants Union.

Bee shares her insights on balancing the demands of research and activism. We also discuss her work in relation to climate, public health, and building a solarpunk future. Scientists can do a lot when they organize together, and when they bring their skills and knowledge outside of the academy to benefit their community. In this episode we’ll hear what it takes to get together, get involved, and make change happen as a scientist.

 

Last summer, tenant organizers from all over North America came together in Los Angeles for the 2022 Autonomous Tenants Union Network Conference. The conversations in this episode were recorded with permission live at the conference.

Tenants are uniquely situated between socioeconomic inequality and climate change, so a tenants union fights against a wide variety of challenges: harassment and illegal evictions, gentrification, natural disasters, displacement, racism, and more. In this episode, we’ll hear from two tenants unions who have faced unique regional challenges. We’ll see where their struggles overlap, as well as unique obstacles they face and strategies they’ve developed as a result.

West River Tenants United, based in occupied Oceti Sakowin land (aka South Dakota), are battling racism, poverty, displacement of indigenous tenants, and the challenges of organizing in a rural area. They organize in tricky situations like trailer parks, homeless encampments, and a hostile political environment. You can find their website here.

The Houston Tenants Union operates in an area especially prone to disasters caused by climate change. They help keep each other safe and rebuild in the aftermath of disaster, offer services that landlords and the city refuse to provide, and organize buildings against negligent management. You can find their website here.

I’m currently running a fundraiser to cover my 2023 expenses for this show. Please support if you can: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/solarpunkcast

 

Description:

This is a collab episode with fellow podcaster Joey Ayoub of The Fire These Times. We talk in detail about the research I was doing before I started my show, as well as how it connects to Joey’s current research. We cover neoliberalism, capitalist realism, hauntology and ghosts, and all sorts of issues with temporality and imagining the future.

Fun fact, The Fire These Times was actually the podcast that encouraged me to start Solarpunk Now! I listened to some of his episodes on solarpunk while I was still learning about the genre and trying to come up with a central theme to design my own podcast around.

I’m currently running a fundraiser to cover my 2023 expenses for this show. Please support if you can: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/solarpunkcast

The Fire These Times website: https://thefirethesetimes.com/
You can also follow Joey on Twitter and Mastodon, and support his show on Patreon.

Follow me on Twitter:

@solarpunkcast

 

Mastodon:

@[email protected]

Description:

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.

Description:

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!