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Tech-Driven Eco Awareness

An Interview with Craig Perlmutter, President, Arcadia Earth
Jana Pijak
May 2nd, 2024
As the president of Arcadia Earth Toronto, Craig Perlmutter is known for his detail-oriented, hands-on leadership merged with an enthusiasm for the outdoors, entertainment, hospitality, education and outstanding customer service. Arcadia Earth Toronto combines Perlmutter's entrepreneurial passions and experiences into one remarkable venture. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania as an Economics major, Perlmutter spent seven years in the promotions and marketing industry before owning and operating one of Canada’s top overnight summer camps in Algonquin Provincial Park for two decades. A visit to Arcadia Earth New York in 2020 led him to this incredible opportunity. Perlmutter's extensive outreach within the local community through business and volunteer positions, with his experience in promotions, marketing and events brings valuable knowledge to further our mission of growing a community with more environmentally conscious and sustainability-thinking citizens.

1. Tell us your name and about your role? 

My name is Craig Perlmutter, and I am the President of Arcadia Earth Toronto, the newest immersive exhibit located in downtown Toronto, which my team opened in December 2023. Arcadia Earth is a multi-sensory journey that combines creative art installations and exciting technology to inspire visitors to make simple changes to their daily routines that promote a more sustainable future. Our experience showcases the beauty of our planet and the impact of human actions on the environment. Our goal is to inspire visitors to be part of the solution for creating a better world. 

2. What does innovation mean to you?

Innovation is how all of us learn and grow, as individuals, communities and as a planet. Continuous innovation is how we can protect and restore our planet and at Arcadia Earth we use innovative technologies such as projection mapping, augmented reality and virtual reality to reimagine the exhibit experience. Arcadia Earth isn’t just an exhibit, it is an immersive journey that informs, inspires and activates visitors to make a positive change for our world. Our sustainable marketplace is filled with incredible items from entrepreneurs who have used innovation to design and produce products which are cleaner, healthier alternatives for everyday purchases.

3. Do you have any specific rituals for resetting your team to be creative?

When creating each of our rooms, the team brainstormed lists and storyboards filled with concepts and facts that were later transformed into visuals, both physical large-scale art installations and technology filled rooms. As we begin to develop future rooms, we will team up with likeminded organizations to find new topics to help inspire visitors to help make a difference in their daily routines.

4. What is the biggest challenge you face while innovating?

Innovation happens quickly, especially when it comes to technology, which is continuously changing right before our very eyes. This makes it challenging to keep current. People tend to fear innovation and change but being able to inspire others around the need for change, the difference they can make, and how easy it can be to do so is our mission at Arcadia Earth. The biggest challenge faced when innovating is the belief that innovation requires a complete overhaul rather than incremental change. In the same way that Arcadia Earth encourages people to take small steps toward reducing their carbon footprint, some of the best innovations happen over time through gradual progress. 

5. Can you elaborate on the inspiration behind Arcadia Earth's Our Planet Challenge and how it aimed to engage individuals in environmental activism this past Earth Month?

People are always excited for Earth Month, but so many Canadians are unsure about what to do for the planet. The Our Planet Challenge was a series of 6 curated challenges that aimed to empower individuals to make a difference throughout Earth Month and inspire individuals to set everlasting habits in their everyday lives. 

Challenges included: The Park Cleanup Challenge, The Green Plate Challenge, The Sustainable Shopping Challenge, The Eco-Travel Challenge, The CN Tower Climb Challenge, and The Hike Our Planet Challenge. You can learn more about the challenges at arcadiaearth.ca/our-planet-challenge. 

6. What specific strategies does Arcadia Earth employ to encourage participants to complete the challenges and foster a sense of community engagement around environmental stewardship?

The Our Planet Challenge utilized social media to encourage environmental stewardship. To be entered for a chance to win, participants posted themselves completing a challenge on social media by tagging @arcadiaearth and using the hashtag #ourplanetchallenge.

It is great seeing people sharing positive change online throughout their challenges and encouraging others to do their part for our planet. People also emailed or direct messaged their challenge entries if that was their preference.

7.  Can you speak to the impact Arcadia Earth has had since opening?

Since opening in December 2023, Arcadia Earth has welcomed over 50,000 guests! Visitors leave Arcadia Earth with new knowledge about our planet and feel inspired to take action towards a greener future. We’ve produced a projection room in partnership with WWF-Canada to showcase Regenerate Canada, the organization’s 10-year plan to expand habitats, reduce carbon emissions, lower industrial impacts and, as a result, reverse wildlife loss and fight climate change. We’re proud to donate $2 from every individual ticket to WWF-Canada. 

8. How does Arcadia Earth ensure that the Our Planet Challenge is inclusive and accessible to individuals from diverse backgrounds and with varying levels of environmental awareness?

The Our Planet Challenge features six curated challenges that participants can sign up to take part in small, yet impactful actions and exciting initiatives throughout Earth Month. From park clean ups to plant-based meals, the Our Planet Challenge has a challenge fit for every lifestyle to participate in throughout the month which can be completed at their own pace. It was important to us that anybody could get involved, whether you’re eco-conscious or just beginning your sustainability journey. 

9. In what ways do partnerships with organizations like Hernest Project, Amego Electric Vehicles, and The Westin Harbour Castle enhance the Our Planet Challenge experience for participants and contribute to its overall success in promoting sustainability?

People who participated in the Our Planet Challenge were thrilled to have the chance to win some exciting prizes from our partnerships with organizations like Hernest Project, Amego Electric Vehicles, and The Westin Harbour Castle. Participants can feel good knowing they’re making a real difference for our planet as they share their experiences completing as many challenges as possible to increase their chances of winning, but more importantly, increase their impact.
References: arcadiaearth