Senior Project Advisor

Rivera, Lysa M.

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2019




Imagine a world where climate change issues are solved. Societies have begun a green reformation, and postponed other endeavors to focus solely on creating a sustainable planet. Different nations make use of green technology and alternative energies, while still allowing citizens to live a relatively similar lifestyle to people today. Global green quotas are met by major nations, and the climate catastrophe is pushed far ahead into the future. Now imagine a world where climate justice issues are also solved. Along with achieving sustainable restructuring of environmental ecosystems, societies have undertaken a serious upheaval in their social ecosystems as well. People have begun to recognize and act on the internal contradictions in creating a sustainable and equitable relationship with the environment without also creating sustainable and equitable relationships and power dynamics with each other. This is the bridge that the environmental justice movement is trying to make between the interconnected dimensions of imperialism, racial and economic exploitation, and the broader environmental movement. The opportunities for justice in a sustainable future are endless, and solarpunk, an emerging genre of literature that focuses on the relationship between human societies and the environment, seeks to explore these possibilities. Many solarpunk stories delve into matters beyond what is traditionally considered the environment, and explore the interrelationships between gender, race, class, and other alienated groups which begs for an analysis of solarpunk literature from an environmental justice lens. The intersections between these alienated groups, the umbrella environmental movement, and capitalist systems of power create tensions that sometimes are not optimistic, which is why I’m arguing that stories should not be defined on their ability to be utopic in their classification as a work of solarpunk. More importantly, these stories are cultural texts that provide blueprints to the creation of a sustainable future for social ecosystems.



Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Environmentalism in literature; Ecology in literature; Science fiction; Ecocriticism; Sustainability--Fiction; Environmental justice--Ficiton


student projects; term papers




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