Expo 2005: Nature’s Wisdom

This year’s World Expo in Nagoya, Japan is subtitled Nature’s Wisdom.

Thanks to rapid technological development, the 20th Century was characterized by mass-production and mass-consumption, which in turn led to material improvements in our daily lives. At the same time, these trends resulted in various global issues such as desertification, global warming, and a shortage of natural resources. As these issues cannot be resolved by any one nation, the international community needs to unite in confronting them: we must come together and share our experience and wisdom, in order to create a new direction for humanity which is both sustainable and harmonious with nature.

Environmental considerations were taken very seriously in both the building and the subject matter on display. An environmental impact assessment was conducted and steps were taken to preserve the ponds and vegetation, although the definition the developers have for preservation of what was an existing youth park as well as the effectiveness of protecting a site that will experience 10m visitors has yet to be evaluated. Numerous innovations are showcased in the park, such as wall greening, permeable pavement, bamboo for building and cooling huge buildings, biodegradable plastics for all the eating utensils, ozone to process the waste water and, I imagine, plenty of super toilets. All the buildings are designed to be broken down into modules and reused. The Expo 2005 website has plenty of artists’ renditions but few images of the actual site, so it’s difficult to get a sense of what it looks like. I gues you have to be there.

In particular, check out the NGO Global village, subtitled the ‘Interactive Fun Zone’. And what expo with nature as a theme would be complete without a pavillon on robots?

Official Mascots of Expo 2005: Morizo (Forest Grand Father) and Kiccoro (Forest Child)

The Guardian has a great review of the Expo–the article is worth reading on its own–that compares the Expo to an Edo-dynasty palace garden instead of a techno-fest. The article also contains these wonders of translation:

Following the exhortions of arcane signs through the grounds, I promised to avoid making “exhibitions of collective enthusiasm”, to refrain from “scattering gas, liquid, powder and other items”, and the “sowing of seed”.

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