The Japanese people have prospered through ingenuity in spite of the limitations
of meager open space and mineral resources. Yet in the scramble for efficiency, industrial
growth, and technological supremacy, the wisdom of nature-- so important in centuries-old traditions-- has been
overlooked. Until now.
The new thrust is for a harmonic co-existence of modern
inventiveness and the natural world. The new imperative is societal compatability with the global ecosystem.
Since the contradictions of modern civilization
are especially apparent in Japan, it is fitting that a wide-ranging world exposition for eco-compatible living was held in
Aichi, near the port city of Nagoya, southwest of Tokyo.
The theme of the first world expo
of the 21st century was "Nature's Wisdom." The massive endeavor had contributing exhibits from 122 countries--
and attracted 25 million visitors.
Global House has the world's
largest ultra-wide seamless screen and the first super-high definition video system. Robot Project shows
robots multi-tasking, guiding, cleaning-- even providing child care.
A large Forest Experience Zone
is designed to envelop and reacquaint visitors with " the woods." The Bio-Lung has a huge wall of
plants and flowers-- an experiment to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and cool the summer air surrounding the Expo
Under the banner "Learning for Sustainability,"
organizations took their turns on center stage at the Global Village, where the 3R's are reduce, reuse, and recycle.
The Expo strived to show that technology is not intrinsically "eco-destructive."
Visitors were whisked around by a platoon
operation of IMTS vehicles, navigated and controlled by magnetic markers imbedded in the middle of dedicated
So Japanese inventiveness is taking a turn toward restoring
the fragile relationship between having "things" and living a more natural life. It was a big laboratory for change and a
ambitious and inspiring show. Another expo is planned for 2010 in Shanghi China.