About this project
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I want to invite you on an adventure.
I believe it’s literally true that we can’t build what we can’t imagine. The fact that we haven’t compellingly imagined a thriving, dynamic, sustainable world is a major reason we don’t already live in one.
Our challenges are epic. If building a better world seems out of our reach, then we need to become people who can reach farther. We extend that reach by embracing bigger visions. To become people capable of doing heroic things together, we have to envision a heroic future. That’s the mission: finding that heroic future, and the paths we take to get there.
Come imagine that future with me. Join me for the filming of a remarkable three-part "live documentary," The Heroic Future.
The Heroic Future will run three nights—September 20th, 21st and 22nd. Each of these performances will be presented in an intimate venue to a live audience in the Bay Area, and filmed and recorded for those who can’t be there in person. Whether you’re in the room, watching the videos at home or listening to the recordings, you’ll be part of creating something special and powerful: a new way of looking at the future.
Each 90-minute show mixes stage presentation, film and photography, visual design, sound, music and lighting to tell a powerful story of where we are, where we need to go, and the kind of stories that might guide us through the planetary crisis we face.
Each show will each ask a critical question:
When are we?
What can we do?
Who do we choose to become?
The first night we’ll answer the question, “When are we?” Most of us now know where we are. We get that we live on an astonishing world, but that our Earth has limits. What fewer of us understand is that we live at the moment when our ability to ignore those limits has come to its end, and for the rest of our lives we’re going to be working to reshape a global society of ten billion people to fit within a small world, while fixing the damage done by the 20th century. Is success for humanity still possible? We’ll discover that it is, but that every successful future now demands heroic change.
On the second night we’ll ask, “What can we do?” We’ll explore our power to change, and discover just how heroic that power can be. We’ll range across the landscape of disruptive solutions we can now find all around us. We’ll come to see that while the challenges of our moment are huge, what we most lack are not the tools to build a better world, but the visions to guide our building.
The third night we ask “Who do we choose to become?” We look at the stories about the future that surround us, and see the need for new stories that illuminate the world we want for our children. Then we embark on the adventure of imagining the heroic future humanity needs.
In short, when I take the stage, I will give you what 25 years of travels, research, and hard thinking have shown me about the world and its future. This is the best work I’ve ever done.
If you know my past work, it won’t surprise you to learn that we plan to make these evenings the launch of a broader effort to engage the public in heroic futurism. There’s no time to waste. In the next year, I want to reach at least one million people and help them connect with a simple truth: if we can learn to imagine it, we can figure out how to build it... and imagining it is a job for us all. Picture smart, creative people everywhere starting to envision the world we need to build. Your support can help make that picture a reality.
THE STRETCH GOALS
What is our first stretch goal? If we hit our stretch goal of $100,000, we'll be able to do more with the filming itself. We’ll be able to add more cameras and better lighting, spruce up the stage design, and edit the result into three beautiful videos that are not just compelling, but a true pleasure to watch.
If we hit our super-stretch goal of $150,000, we'll work with talented editors to produce a broadcast-quality feature length documentary, distilling the highlights of the series into a single powerful film for widespread distribution.
WHO IS ALEX STEFFEN?
I'm Alex Steffen, "one of the world's leading voices on sustainability and the future of the planet” (Vancouver Sun). In 2013-2014, I was Planetary Futurist in Residence at the renowned design and innovation firm IDEO. My acclaimed 2012 book Carbon Zero: Imagining cities that can save the planet is an exploration of the kinds of available design, technological and policy innovations that can transform our cities into low-carbon engines of prosperity. From 2003-2010, I ran the pioneering sustainability and social innovation project Worldchanging, and edited the two best-selling Worldchanging books. I've given over 500 talks at conferences, major universities and leading companies around the world (including my two TED talks, which have both been watched by more than a million people).
You can watch my TED Global talk on the future of cities here.
Risks and challenges
Having done one successful Kickstarter project before (and run a bunch of other creative projects), I've learned the value in planning carefully and budgeting enough time and money to do a good job. There's always the risk of something technical going awry, or the possibility that forces out of our control require us to reschedule one or more of the evenings. We hope that nothing goes wrong, but if anything does we plan to be fully transparent and problem-solve to make the project great anyway.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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