A tomorrow worth retiring to

Notes on the theme of ecomodernism, the guiding light of our glorious counterfactual, luxury, gay, space-communist solarpunk cryptopian future sprouting in the undergrowth.

Ecomodernism is a term that has been used to describe a range of ideas about technological solutions to environmental problems. Other terms/submovements in this vocabulary are Solarpunk, Green New Deal, Spimes, Viridian, John Robb-style resilient communities, Worldchangers, Natural Capitalism, Green New Deal…

Connection: Accelerationism, which seems to me to be sometimes badly hedged ecomodernism.

The natural counter-trend to ecomodernism within environmentalism seems to be degrowth.

Notwithstanding that both these trends contain multitudes, I lean ecomodernist. If we minimax the choice between them problem and imagine both movements in their worst expressions, I still prefer the green technocrats of ecomodernism over the sad hippies of ecoprimitivism, because I am pragmatic, and allow myself only a small sentimentality budget.

Related: Game B, which has a very different notion of growth than typical ecomodernism.

What is growth actually?

The debate with degrowthers is (sometimes) complicated by the absence of agreement as to what economic growth even is. Can we have economic growth with less material input? Is growth actually innovation, rather than burning fossil fuels, and if so, how do we get that?


See efficient food.

Power generation

See power generation for more on the general theory.

Nuclear power

Is nuclear a green power source? Divisive question, apparently.

I have no strong opinions. Obvious costs, obvious benefits, evaluating the trade-offs in the particular case looks complicated. I might be persuaded to cultivate a strong opinion for a specific power grid?


Geoengineering. Have you ever worked in an open plan office with an adjustable thermostat? LAt time I was in that situation it led to surly arguments. Geoengineering is like that, but for the whole planet at once.

Genetic engineering



Often pitched as part of the ecomodernist package is a kind of optimism. That does not speak to me personally, but OK. I suspect that mentioning that ecomodernism is an “optimistic” program is because there are many pessimistic doomerist programs out there and ecomodernism needs to distinguish itself from them.



Battersby, Stephen. 2023. “How to Expand Solar Power Without Using Precious Land.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 120 (9): e2301355120.
Pollin, Robert. 2018. “De-Growth Vs a Green New Deal.” New Left Review, II, no. 112: 5–25.
Tainter, Joseph A. 2006. “Archaeology of Overshoot and Collapse.” Annual Review of Anthropology 35 (1): 59–74.
Törmänen, Tea, and Marco Visscher. 2022. “How Finland’s Green Party Chose Nuclear Power.”

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