The Solarpunk Survey 2024

Hi everyone, last month I distributed a survey on Solarpunk, where more than 500 people replied! Thank you everyone once again, I honestly was not expecting such a turnout. So, like I promised, I came here with the findings of the survey!It is quite extensive read, but if you do not have much time you probably can go through the charts and still get a good grasp of it all. Apologies if there are any typos or any of the sort, as I do not have much time and doing this was quite time-consuming. But I hope you find it as interesting as I did and thanks again!To get a grasp on the broadness of what Solarpunk is to people, I made “The Solarpunk Survey 2024”. The survey covered different topics, from basic demographics to specific questions about what Solarpunk is. The survey was distributed through different online spaces like the Solarpunk subreddit, the Solarpunk Lemmy, Solarpunk Facebook groups, the WhatsApp group of Solarpunk Latinamerica and the “shoutout” from Solarpunk Stories and the podcast Solarpunk Presents. This meant that the survey was distributed amongst mostly english speaking communities that specifically had interest in Solarpunk. While Solarpunk seems to be mostly popular in English speaking communities, it is important to mention that this survey is potentially leaving out the voices of many big and influential non-english speaking communities like Solarpunk Italia and Solarpunk Brasil. Ultimately, the survey recorded answers to some extent from 571 respondents and was completed by 496 people.

According to the survey, out of 571 respondents, 515 respondents found out about Solarpunk online mostly on platforms like YouTube, Reddit, Tumblr, Lemmy, Mastodon and online forums. Funnily enough, I did not include the options of Tumblr, Lemmy and Mastodon, which is why in the main table you see that most people have found it in “other”.

The main reason people became interested in Solarpunk is its values. And by a lot. 341 respondents chose “its values” as their main reason, followed by “intellectually interesting” with 70 respondents. I know this question was a bit of a tricky one, as for many of us, Solarpunk’s whole package got us into it. So choosing one might have been a bit hard for many, which is why people sometimes picked the other option to express that there was no main reason they got into Solarpunk.

When asked, “What side of Solarpunk are you interested in?”, a majority of people chose the option “both interest me”, with 361 out of 571 respondents. Followed by 172 that chose “the movement, and lastly “the aesthetics and genre” with 38 respondents. I always thought people were more interested in the aesthetic side to be fair, so that was surprising for me.

To the question, how often content do you consume Solarpunk content, 274 respondents out of 566 chose “Sometimes”. This was in followed in order by “Quite often” (128 respondents), “Rarely” (93 respondents), “Very Often” (60 respondents) and lastly “I do not consume Solarpunk media. It is important to mention that my definition of Solarpunk content was very broad, including everything from movies and books to online posts. Amongst the reasons people highlight for not consuming Solarpunk content, some highlight monetary restrictions, lack of content available and difficulties with the existing content. For instance, someone mentioned the following: “I have ADHD and no medical insurance, I have a hard time reading. Doesn't seem to be much youtube content or movies etc. based in solar punk”

To get an idea of the types of “content” people consume, I asked, “What types of content do you consume”. the most common response among 537 respondents was online posts (470 respondents), followed by visual art (359 respondents), videos (277 respondents), books (252 respondents), podcasts (149 respondents), movies (98 respondents), zines (75 respondents), other types of content (43 respondents), and magazines (42 respondents). Amongst the people highlighting “other”, many mentioned videogames. I believe that if I had included it, maybe this category would have had quite some votes. If someone wants to keep researching Solarpunk, I encourage them to well, not forget that.

Solarpunk Activities

Just as with Solarpunk content, the definition of Solarpunk activities was rather broad: “(it) refers to any action that is related to Solarpunk in some way. This considers low threshold activities like using public transport or buying in secondhand shops, to more time consuming endeavours like protesting and creating Solarpunk technologies”.

Some thoughts on what these activities are

However, when it comes “Solarpunk activities”, I believe I need to give some context.A lot of people seem to have interpreted this question as me claiming that these actions are solely Solarpunk. Or that Solarpunks do these and if you don't do them, you are not Solarpunk. The idea to include a section on “Solarpunk activities” was to understand the practices in which Solarpunks are engaged. Most of the options of the survey were gathered from the frequent posts of “What are your solarpunk plans for the week?” that circulate online. So, this survey intends to get a sense of what kind of activities are Solarpunks engaged inBut it is important to mention that the fact that people are engaged in these practices does not mean they do it “in the name of Solarpunk” (although, some people do). Nor that if people do not engage in these activities, they are 100% less Solarpunk than those who do. For instance, as some mentioned in the survey, people with motor disabilities at times have a hard time engaging in a lot of these, and stating that everyone must engage in such activities can lead them to feel guilt.What was repeatedly concluded about all of this by many respondents, was that being Solarpunk is a lifestyle. Therefore, it is the sum of ideas and actions that make up “being Solarpunk”. Yet this still prompts many questions: “If someone lives a “Solarpunk lifestyle” but it is not in the name of Solarpunk, is it still a Solarpunk lifestyle?” “Should we have solely Solarpunk actions?” “Is Solarpunk living just a “cooler” version of ecological living?” In my opinion, all of these questions and discussions are super interesting and I would love to hear people discuss this! (and I apologize if this confused anyone when taking the survey).

ok now Solarpunk Activities for real

Lets get back to what Solarpunks do, tho. 432 respondents out of 544 chose the option “yes” when asked if they engage in Solarpunk activities, and 112 respondents chose “no”. Out of the respondents who said yes, I asked them to choose as many of the activities they engaged in, with the option “other” to specify other activities they deemed relevant.

I recommend looking at the image for a quicker look at this data, but a specific reading of the responses states the following. The most common response among 424 respondents was repairing what they can (352 respondents), followed by recycling (351 respondents), taking public transport, biking, or walking to places (313 respondents), buying used goods (334 respondents), composting (216 respondents), using renewable energies (179 respondents), volunteering (134 respondents), working in something that aligns with Solarpunk (117 respondents), protesting (116 respondents), content creation (102 respondents), other activities (100 respondents), making Solarpunk art (89 respondents), having a vegan diet (78 respondents), creating Solarpunk gadgets/technologies (75 respondents), seedbombing (71 respondents), joining a community garden (70 respondents), and occupying (11 respondents).A look into the “other” option will tell us that many engage in unlisted activities they consider Solarpunk. Amongst the most shared ones, people highlight having their own garden and having a diet based on locally sourced foods or less meat consumption.

Controversial Activities

After asking people about the actions in which they engage in, I asked them to write whether they disagreed on any of them being labeled as Solarpunk. By far, the most controversial one, seems to be veganism. Many highlight that it depends on the foods vegans consume, whether a vegan diet ends up helping the environment. Moreover, many also mention they do not agree with a Solarpunk future being vegan. The next activity that was mentioned as not Solarpunk is seedbombing. Many argue that a reckless engagement of seedbombing can cause harm to the environment and sometimes infrastructure that affects people with mobility issues.

Involvement in other causes

To the question, "Are you involved in other movements/causes, if so which ones?," the most common response among 526 respondents was climate activism (264 respondents), followed by LGBTQIA+ (217 respondents), right to repair (197 respondents), workers' rights (193 respondents), feminism (177 respondents), socialism (168 respondents), anarchism (132 respondents), disability rights movement (123 respondents), Indigenous rights (110 respondents), Black Lives Matter (104 respondents), not being involved in any of these movements (96 respondents), guerrilla gardening (78 respondents), and other movements (75 respondents)This a question I believe could have been asked differently, as it is not clear what being “involved in” means. Many people in the “other” option mentioned this, as sometimes they were not involved directly but they still believed in them. Many alternative causes were mentioned, but some of the most highlighted ones were Free Palestine, Open Software and Anti-War

Community where you live?

To the question “Do you have a community that is into Solarpunk where you live?”, 456 respondents chose “no” and 73 “yes”. The ones that did have a community mentioned small friends that think alike, communities that advocate for social values with ecological living without using the label Solarpunk, communities of writers, amongst others. Many mentioned specifical communities they are part of, but I don’t know if that was for me to include it in my analysis as a researcher or in this report for everyone, which is why I am ultimately leaving them out. But communities were mentioned in a variety of places: Argentina, across Africa, Poland, the US and Quebec.

Are these things Solarpunk?

Quick disclaimer, I made a mistake in the prompt, as I said it was on a scale from 1 to 10 but the scale showed it from 0 to 10. Sorry about that.
I recommend looking at the image for a quicker look at this one, as this written version only will share the range and average of each category and their specific distribution is quite interesting.
So, to the question, "On a scale of 1 to 10, please indicate the extent to which you believe Solarpunk should include the following aspects," (and with the mistake you know) the average ratings among 509 respondents were as follows:the use of renewable energy sources (average 9.61, minimum 5.00, maximum 10.00).
promoting harmony between humans and nature (average 9.44, minimum 4.00, maximum 10.00).
.anti-capitalism (average 8.69, minimum 1.00, maximum 10.00)
relying on public transport (average 8.23, minimum 0.00, maximum 10.00)
decentralization (average 7.88, minimum 1.00, maximum 10.00).
inclusion of technology (average 7.29, minimum 2.00, maximum 10.00)
reducing the power or influence of the state (average 6.68, minimum 1.00, maximum 10.00)
representation of diverse religious or spiritual perspectives (average 6.45, minimum 1.00, maximum 10.00)
and eliminating borders (average 6.42, minimum 1.00, maximum 10.00).
It is important to notice that this is not what respondents wanted Solarpunk to strive towards, but rather, their impression on what Solarpunk strives towards

I know, the most important question of them all. We finally know the truth. A Solarpunk future has trees on top of buildings 😎Ok, I got a lot of comments regarding this question. Most say that this is not a yes and no question, because it heavily depends on the environment, policies, how it is done, etc etc. I completely agree with you on this one. If i am completely honest, this is more like a joke-question (if you did not get it was a joke question it is also fine). Which might seem unprofesional or something, but it has its purposes. One, that for the ones that get the reference (that this is a topic that is often debated and all), it might be a funny break in the survey. Another purpose, is that this prompted a lot of people to give me very elaborate reasons as to why that question is trickier than a yes-no question. This can lead me to think that people who are into Solarpunk take these matters seriously, that they are educated on these matters and not only care about pretty aesthetics.But anyways we finally know the truth I hope you are satisfied.

To the question, "On a scale of 1 to 5, how much do you agree with the statement 'I believe my perspective on Solarpunk is shared by most within the community'," the responses among 503 respondents were as follows: 194 respondents rated a 4, 190 respondents rated a 3, 84 respondents rated a 2, 25 respondents rated a 5, and 10 respondents rated a 1.Now with the next one. If you are looking at the image, the question was too large so it got cut out.
To the question, "On a scale of 1 to 5, how much do you agree with the statement 'The punk in Solarpunk is a nod to its classification as a science fiction subgenre, rather than a reflection of traditional punk ideology. Solarpunk, as it exists today, diverges from the punk movement'," the responses among 503 respondents were as follows: 176 respondents rated a 2, 125 respondents rated a 4, 88 respondents rated a 3, 78 respondents rated a 1, and 36 respondents rated a 5.

To the question, "On a scale of 1 to 5, how much do you agree with the statement 'I'm concerned that the broadness of Solarpunk may limit its ability to create meaningful change'," the responses among 503 respondents were as follows: 176 respondents rated a 2, 109 respondents rated a 3, 99 respondents rated a 4, 74 respondents rated a 1, and 45 respondents rated a 5.With the next one. To the question, "On a scale of 1 to 5, how much do you agree with the statement 'I believe that most Solarpunks do NOT contribute enough for the Solarpunk cause'," the responses among 503 respondents were as follows: 158 respondents rated a 3, 128 respondents rated a 2, 121 respondents rated a 4, 66 respondents rated a 1, and 30 respondents rated a 5.

To the question, "On a scale of 1 to 5, how much do you agree with the statement 'Solarpunk needs the next big novel or movie in order to have any meaningful change'," the responses among 503 respondents were as follows: 135 respondents rated a 2, 114 respondents rated a 4, 110 respondents rated a 3, 106 respondents rated a 1, and 38 respondents rated a 5.Next image. To the question, "On a scale of 1 to 5, how much do you agree with the statement 'If Solarpunk continues to gain popularity, it will inevitably be co-opted by companies, diluting its original intentions and values'," the responses among 503 respondents were as follows: 198 respondents rated a 4, 118 respondents rated a 5, 99 respondents rated a 3, 73 respondents rated a 2, and 15 respondents rated a 1.
These are interesting because people often commented on it. Some said that big corporations will be the last to be a part of it. Some said that they dont think its a bad thing it will get co-opted by organizations, compared to the "good it would cause", hence they disagree with the "diluting its original intentions and values part". Some say that, Solarpunk may not need a new big movie or novel but it could for sure help.

To the question, "On a scale of 1 to 5, how much do you agree with the statement 'I believe our future should prioritize a seamless integration of human culture with the natural world, rather than advocating for their separation'," the responses among 503 respondents were as follows: 317 respondents rated a 5, 123 respondents rated a 4, 38 respondents rated a 3, 16 respondents rated a 2, and 9 respondents rated a 1.To the question, "On a scale of 1 to 5, how much do you agree with the statement 'Solarpunk has made me more hopeful in my everyday life'," the responses among 503 respondents were as follows: 211 respondents rated a 4, 185 respondents rated a 5, 66 respondents rated a 3, 29 respondents rated a 2, and 12 respondents rated a 1.

Now to some demographics. While most people are from the USA, we can see on the map that the survey reached people from very different places. If we jump to the last image, we can see the countries that had more than 10 people: USA 224, Germany 51, Canada 33, Australia 16, UK 15 (Ignore the *), Poland 11 and France 11When it comes to gender, 50,9% selected Men, 23,9% Women, 15,5% Non-Binary, 5,8% prefers not to say, 3,8% Other and 0.2% Third GenderLastly, we have age. 35,2% chose between 25 and 34, 25,2% between 35 and 44, 23,3% between 18 and 24, 7,8% between 55 and 64, 7,4% between 45 and 54, and 1,2% 65+If you took the survey you might remembere that I asked for a few other things like ethnicity and language spoken. Considering how Solarpunk concerns representation from different kinds of people, I figured it would be interesting to analyse that. However, I ultimately did not go forward with it because it would have taken a lot of time to do it properly and not give some random statistic only.

And thats it! What did you think? Thank you so much for your support and I hope these findings can spark interesting debates and inquiries.Take care