THE CHALLENGE: We have seven-more-years to halve global green house emissions, or else.
How can we make this transition fun?
-Dated October 2022 — The Living Planet Index Report: in its latest publication, the World Wide Fund for Nature has determined that Earth has suffered a biodiversity loss of upwards to 68% of all wild mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish in just the past 50 years — with Central America suffering some of the greatest losses. See: Living Planet Report
-Dated April 4th, 2022 — The Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group III Report: in it latest publication, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that without increased and urgent mitigation ambition in the coming years, leading to a sharp decline in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, global warming will surpass 1.5°C in the following decades, leading to irreversible loss of Earth’s most fragile ecosystems. See: IPCC Sixth Assessment Report
The greatest challenge we face today as a species is in reversing these trends
THE DECADE FOR ACTION: 2020–2030
As 2023 is fast approaching, the race towards economic decarbonization is well underway. In an attempt to soften the impact that climate change and pollution is having on our living world and built environment, world governments, city governments, NGO’s, major corporations, philanthropy trusts, consultancy groups, and community leaders from around the world are deploying vast amounts of energy and capital towards perceivable, attainable, viable investments that embrace clean, green, renewable energy projects; accelerator programs and design competitions that champion advanced localized circular economies, resilient regional supply chains, and landfill management strategies for a zero-waste world; investments that are guided by equity and equality — ones that are community centered, regionally grounded, and environmentally sound.
These collective-works are an attempt to augment our current take-make-waste global economic system centered around GDP growth, aka the linear economy, into a more regenerative and restorative capitalism, a circular economy, one that not only provides for consumer well-being, but also caters to the needs of all life on Earth — starting with the soil.
However ambitious these works may be, they remain siloed in the vastness of human experience. If one is not dialed into these collective channels for creative economic transformation, one could miss their work out right. With climate change and pollution advancing, the natural world and our built environment are under duress. One of the greatest challenges we face when it comes to adaptation and mitigation of the climate crisis and environmental pollution is in how complex our social order has become — if we are to by successful, we must begin to cultivate a shared-language, a new narrative for life on Earth, one which inspires humanity to work together towards addressing these challenges head on:
There are more ideas circulating today than ever before in history. When it comes to human experience, we have never been more connected than we are right now.
By leaving no stone left untouched, our cultures have merged and married; they are unwavering and evolving. As global citizens, we are unique by almost every measure.
Let’s work together…
NETWORKING THE NETWORKS: CONSUMER CULTURE
As children born into the industrialized world we are encouraged to believe that we can do anything we want to do with our lives, if only we try. If we stay true to course and follow our dreams, we can become whoever we want to be. As we grow older, we learn that it is best to remain realistic when chasing our dreams — Not Everyone Can Be a Rockstar. You can however prepare yourself for a life of well managed happiness by securing higher education, attending a trade school, landing a good job, finding your perfect mate, and building your home on solid ground. The lucky ones, they say, are those who follow a career path with purpose, one that launches them into the workforce with passion. if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life — so the story goes:
Consumer Culture wants us to believe that we can be anyone we dream of becoming. In life, if we can conceive a plan of action, we can make it reality. This world is designed for the entrepreneurial spirit.
Don’t worry. Be happy. Pull up your bootstraps. Work harder. Strive harder. Make things. Sell things. Buy things. Become a success story. The world is here for you — now go out and live your best life…
For most consumers in the industrialized world the key to true happiness can be found in the development of your persona — become content with who you are, with what you have been gifted, and mostly with what you have achieved. Find your hobbies, cultivate your interests, better yourself, cherish your friends, and invest in your family. The future is uncertain: You only live once. The best you can do to keep yourself happy and content is to follow the path laid out for us as consumer citizens. If one strays too far from this path without proper training and/or education, isolation and struggle will surely follow — unless, that is, you have been gifted with natural talent, strong will and/or a supporting family which will allow you the financial freedom to follow your dreams.
While discussing the dynamics of 20th century economics and consumer culture, it is hard for me to speak for the “developing” countries that are in the process of modernizing. Losing one’s natural habitat to the advancement of consumer culture seems exciting for some and extremely traumatic for others. It is hard for me to speak for the landscapes of the “developing” world for I have yet to travel too far from the western shores of America where the First Nation inhabitants and their cultural exchanges have long since been assimilated and their customs and traditions are now mere echos over the clamor of an industrialized world.
However, thanks to the digital age, I have seen pictures of the “developing” world clinging on to their cultural heritage, while at the same time being bombarded with all these new fangled goods, gear, gadgets that only industrialization and advanced supply chains can deliver in masse, things that require more-and-more space for accommodation:
There is no justice in advanced consumer culture, being there is no place on Earth that is now unaffected by its tenacity — pollution, environmental degradation, species extinction, human exploitation, resource depletion — these conditions are paramount.
THE EARTHSHOT PRIZE: 2020–2030
Arising from the royal arm of British Society, often referred to as the birth place of our modern industrial revolution, The EarthShot Prize, initiated by Prince William on October 8th, 2020 is one of the most prestigious global environmental prizes in history. The Earthshot Prize is a design challenge seeking out and investing in five start-ups per year leading up to 2030. With a collective purse of upwards to £50 million, The Earthshot Prize is on a mission to find, invest, and scale regenerative solutions that address the biggest challenges facing organized society and the security of life of Earth. Fixes, they hope, that can and will repair our planet by 2030. With an initial investment of upwards to £1million per winner, the ultimate result, they hope, is an investment portfolio that can, and will lead the way towards a more healthier world for tomorrow’s generations.
“We must make this the decade of the Earthshot. A decade where we all respond with urgency and optimism to change the course of our planet’s future.”
~Prince William (2020)
The five key strategic targets are: Protect and Restore Nature, Clean our Air, Revive our Oceans, Build a Waste-Free World, and Fix the Climate. These are ambitious goals that require an holistic approach:
“The Earth is at a tipping point and we face a stark choice: either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet, or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve. People can achieve great things. The next ten years present us with one of our greatest tests — a decade of action to repair the Earth.”
~Prince William (2020)
ENTER THE GREEN KING
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II on September, 8th, 2022 — Englands longest reigning monarch — King Charles III has now ascended the throne. His planned coronation is tentatively scheduled to take place on May, 6th, 2023.
From an environmental perspective, all eyes are now on the new King being that he has spent a great part of his life championing environmental stewardship — often dedicating his attention towards raising awareness around climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental conservation.
Taking his ideals one step further, King Charles III, as Prince of Wales announced to the audience at the World Economic Forum in 2020 the launch of the Sustainable Markets Initiative: The Terra Carta (Earth Charter) The Magna Carta for Nature — where he invited global CEO’s of the private sector to help accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable future:
“The interdependence between human health and planetary health has never been more clear. As we start a new decade, it is time to focus on the future we wish to build, and indeed leave, for generations to come. Humanity has made incredible progress over the past century, yet the cost of this progress has caused immense destruction to the planet that sustains us. We simply cannot maintain this course indefinitely.
“At this historic tipping point, with the lives and livelihoods of present and future generations in mind, The Terra Carta aims to provide a roadmap for acceleration towards an ambitious and sustainable future; one that will harness the power of Nature combined with the transformative power, innovation and resources of the private sector.
~Prince of Wales (2020) King Charles III
For many the world over, his words remain mute being that the royal family and the imperial nature of British Empire represents one of the driving forces behind many of the challenges confronting us today as a species. As a leading colonial power, there is not one place on Earth that remains untouched by Englands guiding influence. As we enter this new era of British Monarchy, it is always best to remember that Independence Day from British Empire is one of the most celebrated holidays spanning the cultural landscapes of Earth. It is right to take pause:
What can this new King offer the sphere of human experience now that as head of the Commonwealth, King Charles III is historically and politically swayed from taking sides in politics? Can he remain an active voice for Earth and the transformative change needed to sway the status quo away from its current trajectory that reinforces the economic system that is in fact driving The Sixth Mass Extinction?
GETTING GROUNDED: INDUSTRIAL EXPOSITIONS
From their first inception in 1791 on the coronation of Leopold II as King of Bohemia, Industrial Expositions were introduced to the world of human experience as a celebration of Manufacturing Methods. After The Exposition des Produits de L’industrie Française (Exhibition of Products of French Industry) in 1798 — The World Fair began setting the stage for the Industrialized World.
It was The Great Exhibition of 1851 that officially became the first of a series of World Fairs held in celebration of human progress and ingenuity. The Great Exhibition was first conceived and organized by Henry Cole and Prince Albert, husband of Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom and was held in London’s Hyde Park, via The Crystal Palace — the largest building ever built at the time using cast iron and glass. The Crystal Palace was a marvel of innovation that housed an exhibition in celebration of The Works of Industry from all Nations. Life on Earth would never be the same.
Building on the past momentum that the World Fair (Industrial Expositions) have had in international development through the deployment of modern industrial design, King Charles III now has an opportunity to help set into motion the Next Great Industrial Revolution: A Global Circular Economy / EXPO 2030
“Restoring natural capital, accelerating nature based solutions, and leveraging the circular bio economy will be vital to our efforts. As we tackle this crisis, our efforts cannot be a series of independent initiatives running in parallel. The scale and scope of the threat we face call for a global systems level solution based on radically transforming our current fossil fuel based economy to one that is genuinely renewable and sustainable.
“My plea is for countries to come together to create the environment that enables every sector of industry to take the action required.
We know this will take trillions, not billions of dollars.”
~King Charles III
“What if…” King Charles III, alongside William, Prince of Wales, could help change the course of history by proposing to The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) that EXPO 2030 should become Earths First Global World Fair Event, where, unlike the Expositions of the past that were site-specific, EXPO 2030 could take a country-wide, city-wide, bio-regional approach — one that would happen simultaneously in every city, town, community, and region around our world — inviting local citizens to become the active participants in the redesign of their local communities by embracing culture as the key driver towards a new zero-waste, zero-pollution global industrial ecology; one that can work to transform our current climate crisis into climate change action and adaptation:
“What if…” we could accelerate the global circular economy transition, facilitate the rapid de-carbonization of our share energy infrastructure, and begin to regenerate life on Earth with a global would fair event?
“What if…” we could make this transition fun?
WHY CIRCULAR CITIES | EXPO 2030
“Make the world work, for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”
A global bio-based circular economy is the design challenge for the 21st Century. It calls for the redesign of just about everything our modern economy has to offer in an attempt to stabilize Earth ecosystems while providing a world of sustainable economic abundance for all Earth citizens. This is a daunting challenge, one which requires the attention of all Earth citizens. As an evolving economic system, the circular economy is geared towards sustaining human experience in advanced technical settings:
Circular Cities are the applied logistics of a global circular economy, at scale.
EXPO 2030 offers us the time-line that works to unite circular economists around the UN sustainable development goals to meet the global grand challenges confronting organized society and the developing world head-on. As we now know for certain, every region of Earth is feeling the impacts from the affects of the fossil fuel age. Every city located at or near sea-level is at risk from climate change and resulting sea-level rise. The time to act is now. If we are to survive and thrive well into the future with prosperity, Earth’s humanity must unit behind a shared vision for protecting tomorrows children. EXPO 2030 — Earth’s First Global World Fair Event offers us the physical platform of an ailing Earth as the utmost inspiration behind future development, redevelopment and regeneration of life on Earth. Let’s plan a party…
The 200 Year Anniversary of The Great Exhibition of 1851
Ideas to Build on: Circular City Design Challenge
Daily life in a Circular City is organized differently than our current day-to-day routines require. For the modern citizen in a circular economy, the world around us will become more responsive, more resourceful for our civic needs—there is more time for family, more time for friends, more time for exploration, and mostly, there is more time for leisure.
Education is at the core of the Circular City experience. As students of the universe, we are seekers of truth, driven towards a greater understanding of all life on Earth, and the great beyond. As scientists, artists, builders, and engineers we understand the challenges now current in the 21st century, calculating in evolutionary time, this is our survival of the fittest moment — adaptation is key.
Social Enterprise is the financial HUB for the Circular City experience, diversifing opportunity for its citizens to follow their intuition, to chase their dreams, adding a more dynamic dimension to main street — redefining the meaning of work, as play.
A Circular City is a high-tech enterprise designed for economic and urban regeneration.
From home, a Circular City is a network of Urban Villages that are creatively accessible and environmentally sound. Forecasting through the lens of a just transition, access to meaningful work, affordable housing, and social mobility are non-negotiable rights. Daily life in a Circular City is inclusive and co-creative by design.
Energy grids of a Circular City are interconnectedmicro grids — Renewable energy installations that are decentralized, community centered, and are developed as opportunities for creative place making and civic art. Energy cooperatives provide a mechanism for wealth building, embedding equity and urban resiliency into the very foundation of our shared energy infrastructure.
At scale, our global goal in the race to zero is to ignite and inspire a clean energy revolution that is both robust and open to change.
Urban mobility in a Circular City are integrated systems governed by decentralized smart grids. Some modes are conductor guided, others autonomous, and when combined they provide an inclusive network of public options including buses, trains, bikes, scooters, and a variety of other on-demand pick-up and delivery services.
In a Circular City we have abandoned privately owned vehicles as a resource. In exchange, mobility as-a-service allows urban planners and engineers the space to rethink the underlying grid, providing the opportunity to de-pave our urban environment for the upgrade of vital infrastructure services such as city-wide hydro-logic systems, wastewater treatment, storm water management, and for the remediation of toxic soil.
Urban Manufacturing in a Circular City is reliant on regional supply-chains and industrial symbiosis. Located in the heart of the Urban Village The Smart Factory offers the modern consumer just about anything and everything imaginable. The Smart Factory offers goods-as-a-service without the burden of private ownership, and provides end-of-life services for all-things. The Smart Factory is a FAB Lab — a Makers HUB — designed for utility and convenience.
Through The Art of Digital Transformation, on-demand manufacturing offers the creative consumer a more meet-your-maker kind of experience. For instance — with on-demand apparel manufacturing anyone can design an outfit for themselves and/or access an open-source database where fashion designers from all around the world have uploaded their designs.
With Additive Manufacturing, we now have the ability to 3D print parts to fix just about anything that is broken, and/or make the prototype for just about anything imaginable — and, at the end of every thing’s life, all parts can be recycled, its fiber re-purposed into new feed-stock to begin this process all over again. In The Smart Factory all waste becomes resource.
Most importantly, when on-demand manufacturing is partnered with maker movements, artisans, craftsmen and tradesmen, our local economies will no longer be dependent on our ports for the transport and warehousing of goods and services. Notably, as we begin to alleviate our dependency on our seaports, we will begin to lessen our impact on our ocean ecosystems — allowing for their recovery and regeneration.
The Circular City integrates agriculture into the very fabric of the Urban Village, ushering in the next great agricultural revolution. Inner City Food Security combines local solutions like the high-tech efficiency of vertical farming, aquaculture, and agrivoltaics while the rewilding of our built environment has opened up more space for regenerative urban farming practices and animal husbandry — all coexisting in a pea-patch communal setting.
Resiliency in a Circular City is driven by the need for more equity, creative diversity, and environmental justice. Through investment in creative natural infrastructure like sponge cities, green cities, thriving cities, Circular Cities are revitalized and resilient cities, better prepared for the worst-case climate scenarios such as extreme droughts, wildfires, sea-level rise, floods, epidemics and global pandemics.
A Circular City is first and foremost the applied logistics of a global circular economy — an industrial system based on three principles: design out waste and pollution, keep material flows circulating indefinitely, while regenerating Earth ecosystems. A circular economy is a return to the natural order of things, where waste becomes a resource and all life on Earth prospers.
What would you add to this vision statement?
Currently, four countries remain in the running as possible host cities for EXPO 2030. Originally, Moscow was the first city to submit its letter of candidature to The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) — the intergovernmental organization in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos, since 1931 — however, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has since been disqualified, leaving Odesa, Ukraine, Busan, South Korea, Rome, Italy, and Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the four cities in candidate process. The host country of World Expo 2030 is scheduled to be elected by BIE Member States gathered in a General Assembly set to take place in November 2023.
This letter is an open invitation inviting world cities to participate in the global transition towards a more sustainable future for tomorrows children. Let us not forget the urgency of this moment, this decade for action:
We have seven-more-years to halve global green-house emissions, or else. Let’s make this transition fun.
Let’s rewild our world.