The following artifacts from the future are fictional—despite how real some may look. They are designed to spark thinking about what the future might bring.
As we enter a new decade and reflect on the changes over the past ten years, many questions remain about what the next ten or even twenty years will have in store for us. Thinking about the future can be a challenging activity. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the range of possible futures or overly focused on our own worldview. Given the Brookfield Institute’s dedication to helping generate forward-looking insights about the future of Canada’s innovation economy, we are always experimenting with new ways to help Canadians engage and plan for the future. One way is through the creation of artifacts from the future.
Artifacts from the future are designed to spark thinking about what the future might hold. The physical nature of these artifacts helps to bring some of the potential futures into focus, allowing us to better understand what they could mean. By visualizing the possibilities, our hope is that we may be more equipped to recognize both our preferred and non-preferred futures, pushing us to act now for the tomorrow we desire.
These six artifacts are inspired by trends identified as part of the Brookfield Institute’s ongoing Employment in 2030 initiative that explores the changes impacting the future of work in Canada. These trends are described in detail in our recent report Turn and Face the Strange. To push the trends a little further, these artifacts reflect a time horizon of 15–20 years into the future: ~2040. This longer time frame allows us to consider some of the impacts that are (or appear to be) further away, and can help us consider what the next decade (or two) may have in store for us.
In hopes of sparking a broader conversation about these artifacts, we are sharing them below. As real as some of these might seem, it is important to remember that they are fiction. As an observer, we encourage you to ask yourself: what if this was real? What would it mean for my life? My family? My job? My community? What are the trade-offs inherent in this future? Ask yourself, if this is a possible future, what do I want to change about my actions today?
Our goal is to provoke useful dialogue about what the future of work may look like in Canada, what Canadians would prefer it to look like, and what needs to be done to create the future we want. Join the conversation @BrookfieldIIE.
Fort McMurray Fresh Mangoes
Most Canadians now see Fort McMurray Fresh Mangoes as a symbol of Canada’s leadership in agricultural innovation. What is less known, however, is that these mangoes are equally a result of Canada’s humanitarian work absorbing refugees that were displaced due to the climate crisis.
In 2030, when Canada welcomed the first of many climate refugees from the Caribbean, groups settled in Northern Alberta to take advantage of more affordable living conditions. Many went to work at the newly established Fort McMurray greenhouses that were built atop the out of service oil sands. While agri-scientists began to introduce new farming technologies to improve greenhouse productivity, a group of Trinidadian workers also began experimenting with growing produce from home right here in Canada—mangoes.
- It’s a privilege to enjoy locally grown mangoes and other produce once attainable only via importation. It’s also better for the planet to use less fuel.
- Our growing and diversified agricultural industry creates new jobs for immigrants and Canadians alike and boosts the economy.
- Yet, Canadian mangoes also represent millions of people who’ve had to flee their homes due to our collective inaction around the worsening climate crisis. These mangoes are also a reminder of the challenges many Canadians faced during the shutdown of the oil sands and the resulting layoffs. In fact, in many parts of the country, the phrase “getting the mango” describes a scenario where someone’s misfortune is of benefit to another.