More than 120 countries and international organizations are to participate in the first World Exposition of the 21st century, which has the theme of ‘Nature’s Wisdom’. One of the most important purposes of Expo 2005 – which will be held in Aichi, Japan, from 25 March to 25 September 2005 – is to provide people with an opportunity to think about such global issues as ecology and poverty. Some 15 million people are expected to attend.

The Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition says: ‘In order to create a new interface between nature and life in the 21st century, the global community needs to invent a new way of life – one which is compatible with the remaining natural environment.’ It adds: ‘Japan intends to make this exposition a laboratory for addressing global issues and to experiment with re-establishing the relationship between human beings and nature.’

Environmental policies are being introduced to cover every aspect of the Expo, including the development of the site, the operation of exhibitions, and the sale of food and products. It will be the first Expo to assess more than 200 issues identified by an environmental impact assessment report to conserve ecology and suppress carbon dioxide emissions.

3R (reduce, reuse and recycle) guidelines have been used to define targets for managing and operating the exposition, for constructing buildings and for developing the site.

The site, which is set in unspoiled natural surroundings, will be full of practical examples of how the relationship between people and nature can be forged. Non-polluting fuel cell buses will carry visitors to and from it. Tableware at its food courts will be made from plants and other recyclable environmentally friendly materials.

The outer shell of the Japanese pavilion will be made of bamboo, long used as a natural insulating material in Japan, while its roof will be sprinkled with waste water, another traditional way of keeping down internal temperatures.

A 360° spherical ‘Earth Vision’ will help visitors understand how the planet works, while an extinct mammoth, recently excavated from thawing Russian soil, will remind them of the realities of global warming. And, in a taste of the future, robots will roam the site, cleaning it up.

Most importantly, advanced technology and renewable energy will be used to demonstrate their future contribution. A ‘new energy system’ will power much of the site, including the entire Japanese pavilion. Solar power will be backed up by special sodium sulphur battery storage. Fuel cells will power a combined heat and power plant to provide both electricity and air conditioning to pavilions.

Some trees will have to be felled to make way for buildings, but both they and plastic bottles collected from the site will be ground to powder to provide fuel. And food waste from restaurants will be fed to a methane fermentation system to provide fuel gas and fertilizer.

The Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition says: ‘Expo 2005 represents a determined effort by Japan to develop new modalities of life for the 21st century. It is an ambitious attempt to rediscover Nature’s Wisdom – science and technology inherent in our surroundings that together foster a sound balance between human life and the environment.’


The Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition has drawn up a seven-point Ecological Declaration to guide both its work and that of future expos.

1. Implementation of conservation measures identified in the environmental impact assessment report.

2. Development of site planning with environmental consideration.

3. Introduction of advanced technology promoting an eco-community.

4. Introduction of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle).

5. Promotion of transportation with minimal environmental impact.

6. Providing enjoyable educational opportunities through events and exhibitions.

7. Promotion of the efforts for environmental consideration by the people involved.

PHOTOGRAPH: Japan Association for the 2005 World Exposition

This issue:
Contents | Editorial K. Töpfer | Into the mainstream | Creation’s forgotten days | Restoring a pearl | Stop my nation vanishing | Energy release | Oceans need mountains | People | An ocean corridor | At a glance: Seas, oceans and small islands | Profile: Cesaria Evora | No island is an island | Small islands, big potential | Small is vulnerable | Natural resilience | Books and products | Keeping oil from troubled waters | Redressing the balance | Neighbours without borders | Will Mother Nature wait? | Pacific canaries

Complementary articles in other issues:
Emma Gabunshina: Desert reaches Europe (UNEP 25) 1997
Ismail Serageldin: Beating the water crisis (Water) 1996
Ruben Mnatsakanian: A poisoned legacy (Chemicals) 1997
Bella S. Abzug: Women's war against cancer (Chemicals) 1997