May 31, 2015

The 2015 World Exposition

Welcome to the 2015 World Expo, or "around-the-world-in-80-minutes." Each attendant country has built it's own multi-million dollar pavilion down a long outdoor hall in Rho, just outside of Milano.

The theme this year is "feeding the planet, energy for life." The countries showcase their technology, culture, and innovations and how they relate to food and diet. How can we sustainably feed the future? Some countries hit the mark, while others I think mistranslated their invitation email.

Bouncing in Brazil

 had a fun bouncing floor that was actually very hard to fall over on because of the sure-footed way the ropes were constructed. It was an entertaining, albeit unexplained, entrance to their showroom where you could learn about their culinary history. However, they didn't offer any sustainability solutions.

Refined Relish in Russia

Russia had a beautifully decorated pavilion with pictures of modern and traditional foods. They passed out free samples of an incredible (radish?) filled bun unlike anything I've tasted before. There was also an informative section on a product they developed to eliminate the poisons of pesticides on crops. They're presentation was very well done (as were other countries' explanations on how Russia damaged their ecosystems by rerouting rivers).

The Corridor of Countries

Belgium had one of the best presentations, I thought, because they introduced a device that operated a wheel of plants on top and a fish tank on the bottom. The ammonia excreted (and is poisonous to) the fish is converted into nitrates for the plants, which release nutrients back into the water for the fish – it's more effective than soil farming! It's called aquaponics.

Japan had the most popular pavilion, with a queue of 50 minutes just to get in! I unfortunately did not get to go inside, but I read that its presentation was related to trying to get its cultural diet recognized by UNESCO (France, for example, has this honor).

Colorful Corks in France

Then you had countries like Azerbijian who treated their pavilion like an advertisement for "Come visit our country! Win a trip to our country!" They had colored lights (half didn't work) that turned on when you put your hand over them. What does this have to do with food and sustainability? Who cares, come visit our country!

In Ireland they had photos and movies of their beautiful green hills....and the exit. Um, did I miss something?

USA... I can't even. I can't even. They chose the most unhealthy, sallow-looking people on video to talk about how great the food is now that it's genetically modified. I would not want to eat whatever those people are eating.

Thailand was practically begging investors, "exploit me, exploit me!" They showed several videos of all of their undeveloped land and how you can grow many different kinds of crops there, and how everyone is a hard-working, white-toothed smiling farmer who loves to labor in the sun.

A Complex Core in Britain's "Beehive"

The fact is, our natural biodiversity of plants and animals are going extinct one by one. How do we feed the future when the world's population is already over 7 billion people and growing? What kind of future does our generation have to look forward to? The Slow Food Movement addressed these topics and called for action. We can all make a difference if we educate ourselves.


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