By Amer Jandali, Founder, Future Meets Present
World’s Fairs are magical events that demonstrate the power of vision in achieving the impossible.
Remember the thrill of “show and tell” back in elementary school? The excitement of showing your classmates your most prized possession? A World’s Fair is like that, but for millions of people. It’s a moment for us to agree on what we collectively value most, a place to celebrate our grandest visions and a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the ideas, products, services that collectively form a model of a healed planet. This is what The Marketplace of the Future is all about: a collective vision of our sustainable future.
Looking back, the best known “First World Expo” was held in London in 1851 under the title, “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations,” following that, they emerged around the globe lifting us to new fields of imagination and offering lasting symbols of cultural expression. The Seattle Space Needle was built for their 1962 World’s Fair, similarly, the Paris World’s Fair in 1889 gave us the iconic Eiffel Tower.
One of the most fascinating of them all was the 1939 New York World’s Fair. It was the second most expensive fair of all time and was attended by 44 million people during it’s 1.5 year opening. Most notably, it was the first exposition to be based on the future which was particularly timely as the country was being devastated by the Great Depression. The 1939 Fair was built to create a sense of optimism and prosperity by showing guests “The World of Tomorrow,” showcasing the newest marvels like color photography, television, air conditioning, the fluorescent light bulb, and a vision of streamlined interstate highways that spanned from coast to coast.
The 1939 World’s Fair proved that visualizing the future is necessary for creating it.
Vision isn’t merely imagination. It’s information meant to guide our actions.
What would we see if we gave our mind’s eye full permission to open up to climate solutions? How does that reality feel? And what actions do we need to make that happen?
Fortunately, we have now reached a moment in time where our aspirations and needs are one in the same, and we know what actions to take. Project Drawdown lists 100 solutions needed to reverse global warming and in “The Future We Choose,” Christiana Figueres walks us through a day in the year 2050: “with many more trees and far fewer cars, it has been possible to reclaim whole streets for urban agriculture and for children play.” Continuing on this path we’ll see the normalization of thriving cultures, renewable energy, circular economies, and regenerative systems. And the emergence of initiatives like Just Salad's carbon labels, LOOP's returnable packaging, solar symbols like GroupHug, and Pildora's commitment to sustainable fashion.
The Marketplace of the Future. A World’s Fair of Sustainability.
Inspired by the 1939 New York World's Fair, and informed by Project Drawdown and The Future We Choose, we have created an interactive, living, breathing, "blueprint" of the world on the other side of climate change.
The 2020 Marketplace of the Future is our 4th annual event, and first to be online. Attendees will be able to explore a virtual map with an avatar, interact with each other, meet brands, attend workshops and talks, and discover the known, and some of the not-so-known solutions to climate change. In addition, guests can plant trees and coral on the map which will be matched in real life. September 25th will be the launch of our Marketplace "pilot," a first introduction to the world. It will continue growing and evolving in time with new exhibits, showcases, technologies, workshops, brands, talks, and more- A World's Fair of sustainability.
This is an incredible time to be a part of the movement. As we gain momentum in the sustainability revolution we’ll experience the scale of the industrial revolution with the speed of the digital revolution. Our visions can reach the world in moments, which means it’s never been a better time to showcase the best of us. Tickets to the Marketplace of the Future are donation-based and give you lifetime access. See you on the 25th.