Since the first world expo in London in 1851, world expos have continued to have considerable impact on the collective mind. For the last 150 years they have been a showcase for art, industry and the very latest technology.
In 2005, Japan was host to the 21st century's first world expo.
The AICHI EXPO gathered many nations around the central theme of "Nature's Wisdom".
Interview: VALDAS ROBOT (LITHUANIA)
"Expo 2005 offers to the people of the world an opportunity to come together and discuss the many global issues that face humankind."
Interview: Tobias Dany (GERMANY)
"The good part of the expo - what it can bring to the people is really the innovative part. So that people can see new products that help to save nature"
The Japanese, thanks to advanced teaching methods, are cultivating awareness towards the importance of reducing, re-utilizing and recycling materials at an early age.
Interview: Mika Suzuki (FUJITSU — JAPAN)
"This is a recycling quiz. We want all the people to know most materials in the computer should be recycled. Actually our company recycles 90% materials."
A world first! A PC with a large size body made from green plastic. By introducing new high-tech recycling technologies and renewable energy sources, the EXPO 2005 associations wanted the site to serve as a miniature replica of a real-world eco-community.
Interview: Greg Michel (ECO-PLUS — USA)
"As industrialized and technologically based as Japan is, it still has a very, very rich base of wisdom or culture that lives off of nature."
NEDO: New Energy Development
Visitors were asked to dispose of their garbage in 9 distinct containers. Goal: Zero waste. Separated, garbage is a resource and a potential source of considerable energy.
NEDO's New Energy Power Plant, supplies the electricity for much of the EXPO's infrastructure. Biogas from the fermentation of organic waste is transformed into hydrogen, which powers fuel cells.
Interview: Nandor Forgach (USA)
"A lot of the buildings here are actually powered by fuel cell, solar power — There's another power system where they take garbage and turn that into power, so all the garbage that gets thrown out here — they take that and through some sort of process turn into energies."
An estimated 5 tons of waste produced each day on the site of the EXPO was used to generate electricity. Solar and wind power were also essential ingredients of a composite clean energy system implemented at the EXPO.
At EXPO 2005, visitors were also introduced to the use of Biomass Plastic. Biomass refers to renewable organic resources. The platters on which food was served, the plates as well as the glasses, were all made of biomass — a plastic derived from biodegradable corn-based resin. The other principal constituents of this plastic are clay and powdered seashells. Unlike other plastics derived from oil, these platters and glasses, once thrown out will be decomposed into water and carbon dioxides by the micro-organisms in the soil. They will be converted into compost with the other raw wastes from the site, and reused as fertilizer.
The Bio-lung project makes use of rooftop and wall greening to mitigate the effects of global-warming.
Interview: Staff member (JAPAN)
"This is the Bio-lung. There are more than 200 different kinds of plants covering 150 meters of big walls. The temperature here inside the Bio-lung is lower by 2 or 3 degrees. The Bio-lung cools down the atmosphere and is good for the environment."
In Japan, as everywhere else in the world, transportation is a key issue. The Multimode Intelligent Transport System is equipped with engines, which run on compressed natural gas, a clean fuel. As trains they are totally automated and need no driver, but they can also transform into buses and be driven on public thoroughfares.
Powered by hydrogen fuel cells and a secondary battery, hybrid fuel cell buses are very clean and quiet. They emit no toxic substances, no carbon dioxide or nitrogen oxide. The only waste they create is water.
Another form of clean, quiet transportation here were the Linimo trains. They were the first Japanese public use of magnetic levitation train technology.
In the 1960's, the New York Expo first showcased the microwave and now it's an everyday household item. It's more than likely we'll be seeing a lot of new green technologies in the near future.
Interview: Nobuharu Matsunami (Mountain of Dreams - JAPAN)
"Protecting the environment is the biggest issue that we have living currently on earth now."
Our planet is rich in resources, but for how long can it sustain this treatment? What we must remember about Expo Aichi 2005 is that great efforts were made towards a zero waste objective; that clean and renewable energies were deployed on a broad scale, and that ecological transport is no longer a myth.
In this era of massive changes to our ecosystem, scientific conclusions regarding the impact of human activity on all living species are irrefutable. Despite the urgency of all the challenges we are faced with, respect for the environment should be our top priority. Only then can we perhaps alter the course of events in order to recover our lost "Wisdom of Nature."
Messages: (RED CROSS & RED CRESCENT Pavilion):
"Love & Peace"
"One for all, all for one"
"…And let our garden grow"
"The Earth is but one country and all humankind its citizens"