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Climate change and Sustainability takes centre stage at Expo 2020

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Anglelique Kidjo performs during Expo 2020 Opening Ceremony.
Anglelique Kidjo performs during Expo 2020 Opening Ceremony.   -   Copyright  Expo 2020
By Evan Bourke

Sustainability is one of the key three themes, alongside mobility and opportunity, at Expo 2020 in Dubai. As 192 countries come together for the world fair they will collectively collaborate to battle climate change.

Global warming is no new topic on government agendas: Earlier this year, at the G7 summit in Cornwall, world leaders pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Eco innovations at Dubai Expo 2020 aim to inspire a more sustainable future. The Indian Pavilion has presented sustainable textiles, which could help reduce the dramatic impact the fashion industry has on climate change.

Sustainable Architecture

The Sustainability Pavilion is an architectural example of how a building can be net-zero for energy and water. It aims to educate visitors on how we can change our everyday choices to reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact. This pavilion is surrounded by “energy trees” that harness the hot desert sun to generate power.

The Sustainable District of Expo is also home to the Netherlands Pavilion, which uses water from the air to populate food on its vertical farm. Niels Bouwman, director of the Dutch Pavilion, explained how its structure is helping the climate. "We harvest our own water from the air, produce our own foods and get our own energy from our solar panels. So it's a bio-dome," he said.

Every permanent structure on the Expo site is fitted with photovoltaic panels. This helps produce 5.5 megawatts of clean energy, which is enough to power almost 4000 homes for one year.

Dany Eid - Expo 2020 Dubai
Arial view of Expo siteDany Eid - Expo 2020 Dubai

Carmen Bueno, deputy general commissioner of the Spanish Pavilion, describes the inside of the Spanish pavilion as a ‘hidden treasure’. In this space, visitors learn about climate change with the aid of visual installations. She told Euronews how the tree-shaped installations live up to the name of the forest of the future. "It's obvious that it's an artificial forest, but it is a very technological forest. The material we have surrounding us (in the forest) is made from cork. This is totally disposable and recyclable. They are also covered with a substance that absorbs CO2," she said.

Eco-Education

Like the forest of the future, many innovations at Expo aim to further visitors' knowledge of being eco-friendly.

Annika Belisle, Head of Communications at the German Pavilion, told Euronews that education transcends national barriers, and their pavilion reflects this. "There are so many people from different countries, and it's amazing to see that all of these people can come together.

“We are using a smart system to guide them through the pavilion that goes beyond cultural and language barriers to facilitate this kind of interaction for everyone who's coming and to know that's what Expo is all about, to get people together and to exchange ideas no matter where you come from, no matter what language you speak.”

Expo 2020
Expo 2020 Opening CeremonyExpo 2020

Postponed

Expo 2020 delayed the opening of its doors to the world until the 30th of September. Initially set to open in 2020, organisers postponed the mega event by one year due to the pandemic. It was the first time in the 170-year history of the Expo to be held in a Middle Eastern country, the United Arab Emirates.

Located on the outskirts of Dubai, the Expo site is one of grand proportions. It covers an area of 438-hectares, making it twice the size of the country Monaco.

What is Expo?

Expos are global events that aim to find solutions to challenges that humanity faces. People come together from all around the world and connect with each other, share ideas, learn and innovate. Past achievements are celebrated whilst new innovations are showcased.