UTF: The Hopeychattybits – Ivy Scurr

Momotempo · Unsee The Future: The Hopeychattybits – meeting Ivy Scurr

Timo Peach meets artists, solarpunks and changemakers re-imagining the stories we think we're in.

In this eighth episode, Timo Peach meets the Sociology & Anthropology accademic writing a PhD in Solarpunk.



Find Ivy at:

Ivy-solarpunk.com >


And read:

Place and futures


NOTES from the show chat



Who is the solarpunk community?
“That’s a big question and it’s one of the key questions of my thesis. What is the online Solarpunk community, how much of a moment is it?”
“Some fo the research was very slow, some people immediately went: “Wow, I’m really excited that academics are looking at this.” But how do you even do ethnographic research on a globally distributed thing? The process of figuring out where all the groups were and who I was going to contact took several months, and getting my proposal and ethics approved.”
“I’ve always been a kind of weird outsider nerd, and so doing informal, digital inquiry before I even trained to be an academic, so it’s very much how I approach a lot of things”.
“Part of my research is looking at the way things play out differently online. What platforms seem to foster different kinds of interactions and discussions and what things work better on what platforms – and a lot of that’s filtered through my own experience of being quite frustrated and bewildered at all the different ways the different platforms work.”
“Reddit and Discord, in a way, they’re kind of like a mash up between the old web forums and internet chat relay rooms, in a very different way to a lot of different Web 2.0 platforms. I find Discord in particular is a lot of insular silos, and you need to have an invite to join the secret clubs – and if you want to be involved with the conversations, you have to be awake at the same time.”
“The really intensive fieldwork observations across the platforms was super-draining. I started resenting being on my phone and social media…”
“There’s a lot of interesting and productive space in making do with what you have and coming up with creative solutions, which is such a big thing with Solarpunk.”
“One thing I can say that I’ve been noticing and a lot of people I’ve interviewed have been noticing that are still using Tumblr or have ever used it to engage with solarpunk, it tends to be a lot less of the ever escalating conflict and disagreement the you get on Twitter and Facebook. If they’re reflagging your post, they’re probably adding something constructive. Whereas in a big Facebook group or Reddit or on Twitter, the way the platforms function really thrives off and promote disagreement and negative engagement so it’s coming up in the algorithm constantly.”
“Some of the people I’ve spoken to mostly aren’t in online spaces; they occasionally touch base with a couple and they mostly do stuff offline. And some others are mostly online and don’t have a lot of opportunity to do things offline that they consider solarpunk.”
“The core principles of caring and fostering hope and trying to do something about the world to make it better, whether that’s through creating art or stories and sharing them, or whether it’s through doing local activism or research or remediating your local environment or whatever it is that they’re doing that is part of all the different things that can help make the world more solarpunk –some of them are spread across a lot of things some of them really focus in a couple of areas – it’s all the core principles of pushing back against capitalism, fighting against climate change, trying to make the world more liveable and just and friendly and inclusive, that’s what they’re trying to engage with. Those are some of the key things that solarpunk as a concept and a lot of the stories and artwork it creates to inspire people towards that, are about.”
“The way I’ve been lucky enough to have the privilege to do this is through that community activist lens, rather than an extractivist academic lens. Hopefully the things I’m weaving together in it will be useful to the solarpunk community.”
“When I started getting involved in things, the people I was getting involved with were like: “Well, we have to talk about genocide in colonialisation, we have to talk about First Nations justice, we have to be respecting and engaging with what the indigenous people whose country we’re on want and need and valuing their knowledges… WHILE engaging with this legal structure and economic structure that’s causing these issues.” 
“One of the things I’ve been interested in is talking to people about their versions of Solarpunk futures, both in broad strokes and for their local community, and one of the reasons why I’m so motivated to talk about and engage with Solarpunk is because of that hopeful visioning. It’s engaged with pragmatism, and it’s engaged with things that are actually achievable but it’s also saying that, hey, things could be a lot more interesting and through drawing these stories we could prototype and thing through how things could be different.”
“It’s so important that we have that to push back against the status quo and all our narratives about the future being collapse. I personally struggle with future anxiety a lot. Solarpunk helps with that and it also contributes to it a bit. Because it helps you see that we could be doing things so much better but the people in power just aren’t.”
“But there are people around the world who are engaging with local knowledges and and specific ecological contexts and working through possible solutions and different ways of thinking of futures, and then we can share those to find the common grounds and things we want to work on. And maybe something from that way over their context might be useful to us over here. But even having those conversations is way more helpful and way more hopeful than just saying everything’s fucked.”
Timo: “Change seems to take a lot longer than the urgency we’re constantly told we need.”
“Some people would argue that engaging with grief about the climate and everything will bog you down and you just need to be doing stuff. But some people I was speaking to recently were engaging with some academic literature on the important role of grief for reflecting on what’s been lost, what’s at risk of being lost and reevaluating the world and your place in it and how you want to interact with it in the wake of that loss, so you’re then making very different choices about your relatedness and the things you do going forward to make that stop happening and hold yourself accountable and honour the things that are lost while fighting to maintain and grow the things that are left, and the possible things that can grow in the spaces where things used to be.”
“Cool. So, your mum died. But you’ll be back at work on Monday, right?”
“We don’t allow ourselves time to do things in a human way – everything is fast, now, on the clock, immediate, make profit,  it has to be rationalised… and that’s not what Solarpunk is about, what First Nations Knowledge is about, that’s not what being in meaningful relationship of responsibility and reciprocity with ecosystems and other humans and non-humans around us. That requires taking things slower and listening more and engaging more meaningfully.”
“If we just slow things down as a starting point, we could take more time to implement things in a more contextually appropriate way.”
“But everything is just so fast and so big and so interwoven with all these global and national power structures and economic sand underhanded kick back schema and you’re like… how do I even address those things?”
“There are some pockets of solarpunk where it’s First Nations voices speaking the loudest.”
“The different stories we tell about ourselves and our connections to each other and our responsibilities to each other and what emotions do we feel, what things do we value – that’s all embedded in story. And one of the really neat things about solarpunk is it’s saying the stories we’ve been telling us about ourselves and our future have been actively harming us and actively contributing to destroying the web of life that we are part of and rely on – let’s do some work to unpack that and start experimenting with other stories and what it means to be us and how to live in the aftermath of the things we\ve done and how to live through trying to do something about that.”



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