Changing the Stories We Live By #5: some romantic solarpunk for Valentine

We are still in Brigid’s realm. More solar energy is coming and it is time for romance to blossom. This blog promotes a short story I wrote for Uneven Earth, one year ago, inspired by conversation with East-Asian alternative geographers and my visit to the eastern medicine quarter in Daegu, South-Korea. They liked ”how it blends intellectual ideas (mostly from feminism) with elements of solarpunk”. This week the editors published it:

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Which stories do I collect, carry, share and guide?

Usually I live in Japan for my research, but occasionally I am in Flanders. I am a blogger for Mo* magazine, writer, academic, promoter of forest baths and co-founder of Bold Branders. Bold Branders is a cooperative of young Belgian minds that wants to promote the circular economy, not only by transforming materials, but also people. My first novel ‘Als Meubels Konden Spreken‘, published by Bold Branders at the end of November 2019 and co-financed by Vlaanderen Circulair, is my first Flemish circular science fiction. Circular science fiction can be classified under the speculative science fiction genre and introduces different ideas, aspects and dimensions of circular economy. To make the message even more powerful, I used stylistic figures that I learned while following a course in ecolinguistics: “The Stories We Live By, an online course in ecolinguistics funded by the University of Gloucestershire for public benefit. Earlier I posted 4 blogs with some notes and thoughts I got since I engage in the study of ecolinguistics:

  1. Appreciating Rain
  2. The Forest Sees You.
  3. If Furniture Could Talk
  4. Grief

And yes, I write partly as a way of dealing with climate anxiety. It’s not just writing that I’m venturing into coping with my own climate anxiety. Since September 2019 I have been training as a forest bath guide at the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT), which immerses me even deeper in the two things where I lose track of time and be so present: creative writing and being in the forest. Being a forest therapy guide is also about creating space for people to make time for the story they are living and they want to live. Forest therapy is not only about health benefits, but as ANFT taught us, it is also about a cultural repair, about healing the land and restoring the relationships with the more-than-human world, and for this we need new stories.

Solar Punk

I don’t only write in Dutch. My first English short story was published on the website of Uneven Earth takes a political stance on today’s crises. They uncover the other half that’s never been told, and they tell stories about change and viable alternatives, because they see environmental issues as connected to political and social issues. I reacted on a call for a collaborative writing project dedicated to science fiction, climate fiction, and utopian imaginings called “Not afraid of the ruins“, looking for stories about people, places, stories and characters that are not typically represented in the traditional Science Fiction canon.

This short story is inspired by a visit to Daegu in South-Korea and its eastern medicine museum and quarter as well as the conversations I had during the East-Asian regional congress on alternative geography (EARCAG). Hence, I incorporated elements of solar punk and intellectual feminist ideas.

solar punk

Solar Punk investigates what renewable energy sources and decentralized energy infrastructure can mean for the future society. Solarpunk has a more optimistic note than steampunk and cyberpunk and has become more prevalent in recent years, partly as a way of dealing with climate anxiety. The most popular example that jumps up in my mind are Wakanda of the Black Panter movie.


I invite you to watch the TED talk by Keisha Howard about imaging a solar punk future (although the sound engineering is not that terrific) and to write a solar punk short story yourself. You can read my short story here: