The XR Wordsmiths' Solarpunk Showcase is Extinction Rebellion’s first global short story contest for all ages.
The project rides the wave of the Solarpunk movement and grew from the belief that imagining a better future is the first step towards creating it.
The power of collective and radical imagination helps to inspire action against unjust, destructive futures by actively building towards the future we want to see.
The following stories - 'The Happy Wolf', 'Dylan Cooler' and 'The Future School' - were winners of the "11 & Under" category, and were written by Mikhayel, age 6, Dylan, age 9, and Liz, age 10.
Original artwork was created for each of the stories by Good Wives and Warriors and Hal Hefner.
"The Happy Wolf" - Mikhayel, age 6
Illustration by Good Wives and Warriors
My name is Axel. I like being a wolf because I have a lovely forest with Evergreen trees. Like Christmas trees. And it is very cold because I am in the Arctic. I like the Evergreen trees because they keep us healthy.
Now that we’re not being hunted we get to run around and be more safe. The snow is thick and white and it feels rough. We get to play games. My best friend’s name is Alex and she is a penguin. We play tag together. Sometimes Alex wins and sometimes I win.
One day me and Alex asked my dad if we could go to the North Pole and see if they have any kinds of trees like ours. He said yes, but we need a special airplane. But then when we were about to go we saw an ocean that had a whale and we asked if we could go on it to travel to the North Pole.
So we traveled through stormy seas and huge whirlpools and we finally got to the land and we wanted to see some trees that looked like ours. But there was a snowstorm and it covered all the trees and it looked like a mountain of snow. We felt happy because we have all this thick white snow to make snow angels and snowballs. And then we found a map that showed us where to find the trees. We were in the wrong spot!
The map told us to run from east to west and when we stopped we started digging and finally found the trees and then we told all the animals in the Arctic to come to the North Pole riding six whales from the ocean. Then all the kids played and the grown ups talked together and then had a party.
There was a lot of cookies and cupcakes and mince pies. There was music and balloons with confetti. There were a lot of grey clouds filled with snow. We all felt excited because we were going to play musical chairs with 94 chairs. Because there were 95 animals.
"Dylan Cooler" - Dylan, age 9
Illustration by Hal Hefner
I’m Dylan, the greatest inventor of all time. One of my greatest Inventions is a giant water-powered air conditioner with a global warming detector, I named it- Dylan Cooler! So why did I invent this machine?
I genuinely love animals, especially polar bears. They live in the North Pole where there is a lot of ice. They need this ice to feed, rest and raise families. However the ice is melting because of global warming. People use cars, planes and factories which create a lot of extra CO2. On top of that, people eat a lot of beef which requires farmers to raise cows. These cows release methane gas when they eat. Too much CO2 and methane in the air acts like a blanket and traps the heat, making the earth hotter, which melts the ice in the North Pole.
It breaks my heart to see the polar bears suffer when too much ice has melted and they have no choice but to keep swimming, because they have no place to rest. So what could we do to help them? I couldn’t ask everyone to stop driving or flying and to stop eating beef. I couldn’t ask factories to close because we still need their products.
So that’s why I invented this giant air conditioner. The Dylan Cooler gets its power from an underwater turbine powered by sea currents. I put it in the Arctic. Global warming causes temperatures to rise which melts the ice which makes the sea level rise. The detector will notice the sea level rising which means that the temperatures are going up. The Dylan Cooler will then turn on automatically so more of the water will be frozen into ice, giving polar bears more places to live. When temperatures are back to normal, the Dylan Cooler will turn off.
So what’s next for me? I chose to help the polar bears in the North Pole first, because the ice in the Arctic is melting faster than the ice in Antarctica, and the reason is that the Arctic is in the middle of the ocean, so the ice can float around. Eventually, the ice will float to a place where the water is warmer, which will cause the ice to melt. On the other hand, what makes the Antarctica melt slower is that the Antarctica is surrounded by a bunch of islands, so the ice won’t float to places that have warmer water. In fact, the ice will stack on each other sometimes, so the ice will be thicker. Even so, the penguins in the South Pole seem to have similar problems as the polar bears did . They also need ice to rest, feed and raise families, Global warming is causing their ice to melt as well. So that’s why my next step is to help the penguins I am going to send another Dylan Cooler to Antarctica ! In the future, the polar bears and penguins will live happily ever after, and all because of me. That’s all folks!
"The Future School" - Liz, age 10
Nowadays, students do not enjoy school much because it is boring. So a lot of teachers are determined to make the school a fun place, while keeping it safe and eco-friendly. But how? We’ll find out!
Outside there will be an invisible protection zone, when you want to go to the school there will be fingerprint recognition to check if it is you, also there will be a hand sanitizer inside.
Most people like it when pets play around them. Students always hope that they can bring their pets to school because they feel sad to say goodbye to their pets every day when they have to go to school. And now, students can bring pets to school, and get them back after school, and also they can play with them during break time. Pets can be sent to the pet school, there will be a lot of trainers and they can train them to sit or lay and even teach them to become friends with other animals! There are a lot more. Pet school provides water, treats, baths, and beds for them to sleep. When they have to pee or poop, there will be a paper pad for them. When they want to play, they can play with one another.
Now we have to go to the classroom, there is a teleportation stand next to the entrance for each class, you just have to stand on your class teleportation stand, and you will arrive at the classroom in a second! But it tickles when you teleport and you feel like you are yanked up, if you move, it won’t work. So a lot of people failed to make it to the classroom on time.
Illustration by Hal Hefner
In the center of the classroom, desks are floating. The biggest one is the teacher’s desk, the other floating desks are for the students. On the teacher’s desk, there is a small pen, it allows you to write in the air! The student’s desk has an accelerator and a brake so it looks and works like an automobile so you can play with it during the break.
And students don’t need to have homework, because they do all the work on their 3D projector. It explains how to do all the homework, so if you don’t understand something, you can always ask it for some guidance to finish the workbook at school. In our school, there will be a lot of paper savings. For the paper-saving part, we will try to use as much technology as possible, now we use paper to write our homework, but in my school, they will use iPads instead of paper so we won’t have to worry about wasting too much paper.
Now is time for lunch! Welcome to the cafeteria. You don’t see anything except a robot in the center only, it cooks everything! Including BBQ and peanut butter sandwiches, pasta, boiled vegetables, etc… They are all cruelty-free. There are some microphones, you order through them. After you eat, the robot will clean your plates and silverware without wasting too much water. Cool, right? Well, I think so.
Next is Physical Education time! The gym has an underwater racing track, you and your friends can race with mini underwater motorcycles. There is also a climbing wall, and a trampoline basketball court! If people get hungry or thirsty during PE class, packets of water and fruit will be served. There is a proper pool for you to swim in, it has a place to log your body condition, so it can recommend you an appropriate workout to make sure that you won’t get hurt in the pool. It also has a towel generator to supply you with towels, and also a toy generator for you to play on the water. In one semester, there will be one or two classes to let kids who are not disabled go around in a wheelchair to let them experience and respect disabled kids.
Ringggggg!!!!! It is break time! Ya~ The first thing you see is the zipline, there is a house like a cart, it can hold two people, there are two chairs nailed to the ground, and a table, you can admire the scenes or read your book, I promise you will find your own fun there! Next, there is a horse riding area. The horses are mechanical but look real, except that they have lines that glow whatever color you want! There is a skydiving place, you have to take an elevator to the top and there are robots to help you wear the equipment and a parachute, and then you are ready to go! There is a drifting river you can float on, etc……..
Next is nature class! In nature class, you will learn to grow plants and food in a garden. And we will avoid eating meat because killing animals will stop the circle of life. And one day, pigs, chickens, cows, ducks, etc will go into extinction. And there will be no more animals. We will also save water, when it is time to go home the teachers will go around the classroom asking if any students have any water left in their water bottles then the teachers will take the water to the garden and pour it in the dirt where the food grows to water it, we are doing that to replace all the water that you use to water a garden. And we will have a class or two about the importance of saving water and paper. And paper comes from trees, and trees help make the air fresher. So to save trees, you can start a petition about saving trees, and get people to sign it. And turn it into the government.
Next up is cooking class. These days, a lot of people think that cooking is the girl’s job, but the men also need to learn how to cook because if they are single and not so rich, they have to cook for themselves. They will also use the vegetables and herbs to make delicious dishes! This helps them sort of prepare for their future. Everyone loves field trips! So the field trips will continue but the bus is made of glass and it can go on and under the water, fly, and go into space and even land on other planets! Of course, it can drive on land! It looks like a whale shark when it is underwater, isn’t it cool? It looks like a bird when it flies! No one is driving the bus, instead, a robot controls it by using the steering wheel. When it’s in the air it uses wind power, when it’s underwater, it uses water power! Cool, right?
So that is the future school of my design! If I can rate this school, I will give it 100!