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Just Imagine – A Forever Worlds Fair

This article originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of Maui Vision Magazine.

In the burnished copper Cauldron the Sorceress stirs her Futuristic Vision. Conjuring Incantations that call forth all Celestial Magicians. To Dream The Promised Destiny of the Forever World’s Fair into this Time and Space. It is a Gift of Alchemy. Disguised within a wondrous playful illusion that Births Collective Consciousness upon this Ailing Planet. – Sapphire Moon

The amazing enchantress, Sapphire Moon, formerly of Maui and now living on the Big Island, called me one year ago to share a vision she had of a Forever World’s Fair. She told me it has to be on Maui and that I am supposed to be involved with it.

Intrigued but busy, I tried to forget about it only to have it keep resurfacing in my thoughts. I recalled my elation spending three spellbound days at the Vancouver Expo in 1986 – fabulous architecture, brilliant displays, a world of creativity, exciting ideas and innovations.

I remembered my stint as director of an experimental high school in California during the late 1960s, where we had to challenge students to go far beyond their limits. In the fall of 1969, the staff and students built 17 geodesic domes big enough inside to live. That winter we published Domebook, a 100-page “how to” book that displayed domes along with plans and building systems we used. Overnight, our adventurous spirit made our school a must-see attraction for innovative builders and creative educators.

Years later, on Maui, I built three bamboo structures on my Haiku farm; first because I liked the look and the idea of building with the most sustainable product available, and second to serve as a demonstration site for people to check out the new and beautiful.

But a Forever Fair on Maui? Where might one go with these ideas? What comes to your mind? Tease your imagination and see what comes up!

For me, “forever” not only means ongoing, like the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu’s north shore. It also conveys a meaning of sustainability – something that will continue for a very long time (in contrast to extraction / contamination / exploitation trends that we are seeing).

An international design competition will announce the Fair and draw upon resources and talents from around the world, just as the algae / bamboo competition did to inspire great bamboo designers.

The Fair itself could sprawl out across the Central Maui plain, while reclaiming the soil and water in the process. Visitors could rent the newest electric vehicles to cruise around the fairways of low-rise pavilions. An enormous variety of inspiring projects would display and demonstrate sustainable technologies from Karachi to Kirabati – permaculture, nature farming, biodynamics, indigenous systems and innovations from science and new community experiments. More than mere displays of healthy forests and their benefits, there would be forests of bamboo as well as hemp and the oxygen-free furnaces that generate energy plus biochar to clean up the land. In the same spirit there will be various plazas of innovative buildings – eco domes, straw bale and hemp houses, thatch huts and bamboo villages, along with the craft workers demonstrating their skills.

In addition to showcasing inspiring designs and innovative systems, the Fair will be a 3D Whole Earth Catalog of tools for building and maintaining ecological living. Visitors will walk through buildings that clean up water and generate their own power, and will be able to check out the latest solar, wind and algae technologies. And of course, all of the food available at the Fair will be grown on site using best practices from biodynamics, hydroponics, etc.

To get a better idea of what this might look like, go to to find links to visionary projects and ecopreneurs like the team behind the Open Source Ecology movement. Know of a great technology or system? Let me know.

Large-scale visionary projects draw great talents to them; they attract serious problem solvers and visitors who want to go beyond the farm tours and standard attractions to see the new and amazing. With Hoku Nui, Oprah Farms and all of the members of the Maui Farmers Union, we are already a nexus for sustainable development.

The Fair could become Maui’s 21st century premier tourist attraction. Explore more at

Mark Sheehan is a real estate broker and president of HAPI, an organic farm / training center in Haiku. An original member of Maui Tomorrow, he currently works with Shaka Movement (.org). Contact:, 808.283.2158.

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