Defining the 21st Century

“For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week — terrorism, instability, inequality, disease — there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”

— President Barack Obama, United Nations, Sept. 23, 2014

Featured post

Building Solar Cities

Photo from The Sustainable City, Dubai – a world leader in solar-powered urban development

It’s a real delight to share that the world premiere issue of Solarpunk Magazine is now officially in print and available over at I highly encourage you to check it out. It’s got everything. Great stories. Great poetry. An interview with the incomparable Kim Stanley Robinson on utopianism. Well worth the read.

If you aren’t familiar with Solar Punk, it’s a new genre of fiction that seeks to understand, through narrative storytelling, art, and practice, what new kinds of worlds might be possible should we choose to shed our carbon habit and groove to a sustainable future. It’s utopian alright, but with a punk twist: that hard look into the utopian underbelly that reminds us that getting from here to there will be hard and undoubtedly come with a few scars.

You’ll also find a bit of non-fiction sprinkled in, including an essay from yours truly, “It’s time to build solar cities”. My two cents, as followers of the center know, is that we’re going to need a LOT of solar and that there’s no good reason not to build as much of it as we can inside city boundaries, where we can do good things with it beyond just generating electricity–and where those benefits can flow to those who need them the most.

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#Solarpunk Transition?

Joey Eschrich and Clark Miller, the editors of Cities of Light and The Weight of Light, join the Solarpunk Futures Podcast with Justine Norton-Kertson and Brianna Castagnozzi, the co-editors-in-chief of the exciting new Solarpunk Magazine, a place for fiction and non-fiction about energy, nature, and the possibilities of emergent and thriving human futures.

Listen in for an exciting conversation about the future of post-carbon cities, the possibilities of solar-powered communities, and the role of the imagination and fiction in teaching us truths about human futures. You won’t be disappointed!

Let Communities Lead

2021 Let Communities Lead Report

A sustainable planet will not be a reality unless millions of poor and vulnerable people in marginalized communities around the world are capable of pursuing sustainable development goals locally. Such a pursuit is possible by leveraging shared knowledge, infrastructure and resources, including energy systems, in environmentally benign ways. The sustenance of high quality and productive energy systems, on the other hand, is conditional to the endusers deriving a high degree of social and economic value from energy services, making them invested in the system’s success. Ignoring and sidestepping this critical complementarity prevents thousands of vulnerable and poor communities from adopting clean energy systems and successfully pursuing sustainable development.

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Tired: Petro-cities. Wired: Photon-cities.

The UREX Future Cities Podcast

Today’s cities are powered by carbon. Tomorrow’s will be powered by sunlight. How will solar energy transform cities? Find out in our conversation with the Future Cities Podcast Team:

Then download the book for free and find out for yourself what solar-powered cities might look like tomorrow:

Building Solar Cities

How much solar energy can we put in cities? There’s sort of a default assumption that cities get their power from elsewhere, often from far-flung power plants in rural areas. And there’s a lot of solar developers thinking that way.

But solar is different, and there’s lots of opportunity to build solar in cities–and to create massive social benefit along the way. So how much solar energy can we put in cities? What can we do with solar in cities? And how much benefit would we create ? That’s what we set to find out from four of the world’s leading experts on solar energy.

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Post-Carbon Life and Work

Carbon did more than just power the 20th century; it profoundly changed the nature of human life and work. Nor is carbon alone. Throughout history, communities and civilizations have reforged themselves around new forms of energy, think fire and animal husbandry, for example. In this amazing session, I talk with five globally influential creatives about how today’s cities might reforge themselves going forward around the energy sources of tomorrow.

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