- Climate Pledge Arena and the Case for Cultural Optimism
Climate Pledge Arena and the Case for Cultural Optimism
Let’s go back to October 21, 2021. Here’s a news headline you might have missed: “Cultural Optimists Spend One Billion Dollars to Create the Sustainable, Renewable, Regenerative Sports Venue of the Future.”
You missed it because it wasn’t a headline.
Fifty years from now, everything at the top of the news that day will be forgotten, and the opening of Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington will be celebrated as ‘The Visionary Project that Changed the World’. Every sports venue on the planet will be like the Climate Pledge Arena: “carbon zero,” no fossil fuel consumption for daily use, all-electric, with the electricity used coming from clean, green, sustainable sources. Every arena will have innovative waterless urinals and ultra-efficient showers that save 60,000 gallons of water for every event. They will generate zero waste through compostable food packaging and recycling. And the ingenious entrepreneurs who design these stadiums achieve these results without compromising the guest experience.
When I say convenience, consider this innovation: Climate Pledge Arena has no-hassle, no-waiting-in-line “grab and go” convenience stores and food courts. The food venues use something called “Just Walk Out” technology. You sign up in advance and swipe your palm to enter. Then you grab the food and drink you want and head to your seat: no cashier, no credit card swipe, nothing. The system uses a combination of cameras and sensors to determine what you chose, and you’re billed as you leave. If you’ve ever been to a sports event or a rock concert, with ten thousand people arriving at the same time all wanting to grab food and get to their seats, you’ll understand how great this is…and why every stadium and arena will have this technology in the very near future.
Climate Pledge Arena offers Seattle fans everything they want: excitement, convenience, comfort and luxury. But the people who created this arena also want to make the world a better place. They want to do something that makes a difference in the lives of millions of Seattle sports fans. What makes them “cultural optimists” as opposed to just dreamers is that they spent a billion dollars to turn their dream of a better world into a plan, and then into something real that guests can experience for themselves. Nobody has to wonder if creating a clean, green, sustainable sports arena is possible. Friends, it’s here for you to enjoy. Even in the absence of a game or concert, you can tour the arena and see how it all works.
Climate Pledge Arena shows the world what cultural optimists can achieve. The original Tomorrowland at Disneyland also made the case for cultural optimism: Walt Disney didn’t just talk about the “House of Tomorrow,” he built one that guests could step inside, admire, and dream about having for themselves. Disney’s “Carousel of Progress” invited guests to see themselves as happy benefactors of the inexorable quest of mankind to make the world a better place.
Becoming a cultural optimist takes courage. It’s a choice everyone can make. Optimists seek out opportunity, possibility, and positive values that bring people together. The good news is that becoming a cultural optimist is powerful, because it affirms the ability to make a positive impact in the world. Pessimists see themselves as powerless victims in a hostile world. Same world, two ways of seeing things. Only one makes things better.
The stories we tell ourselves dictate the kind of world we’ll live in. Ray Bradbury once wrote a story called “The Toynbee Convector.” In this story, a man time travels from the future with the best possible news: humans have solved their biggest problems! And he’s here to tell us how it happened! Naturally, humans get to work solving their problems. Eventually, the date arrives when our hero first embarked on his journey backward through time. That’s when he comes clean: he’s no time traveler, he made everything up because he knew that no one would listen to his ideas for creating a better world unless he convinced them it had already happened.
We have the power to create the kind of world we want. Everything we need is right there in front of us: the systems, the technology, and the vision. All we need is the will. And for that, we can look at the people who created Climate Pledge Arena. Thanks to these cultural optimists, we can walk into a future that works for everyone, harness that spirit, and put our own positive dent in the universe.