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Signature Terra experience to empower Expo 2020 visitors to understand environmental footprint
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Signature Terra experience to empower Expo 2020 visitors to understand environmental footprint

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 An emotional journey that tells the enchanting story of humankind’s relationship with nature, and our impact on it, awaits millions of visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai’s Sustainability Pavilion, ultimately revealing the complex interconnection between people and nature that means when one suffers, so does the other. 

‘Terra’ will highlight the urgency of addressing negative environmental impacts, caused in large part by human behaviour, through an engaging and personal experience that is designed to empower visitors to understand their impact on the environment and become agents of change. 

Terra (meaning Home Earth) will bring to life the UAE and Expo 2020’s commitment to sustainability, acting as a catalyst for change in the UAE, the region and globally. Sustainability is one of Expo 2020’s three key subthemes and the six-month event will serve as a platform to drive change, share solutions and explore new ideas that encourage us to act collectively in order to save our planet. 

John Bull, Director – Sustainability Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai, said, "Humankind has had an enormous impact on the world and Expo 2020’s Terra experience is designed to reveal the magnitude of this impact in a way that is personal and inspiring. It will be a stirring, and at times emotional, experience as visitors come face-to-face with the significance of their individual choices. We hope they will emerge with a new perspective that inspires millions of people of all ages to take action in their own lives, as we all come together to welcome a better future." 

Publicly revealed for Earth Day, on 22nd April, Terra incorporates the experience in and around Expo 2020’s Sustainability Pavilion, previously unveiled as an extraordinary piece of architecture that pushes the boundaries of sustainable design and cutting-edge technologies. 

The visitor experience begins in a wadi – a dry riverbed – and tells the story of Arabia, reflecting that the next World Expo is the first to be held in the Arab world. Visitors big and small can walk in the tracks of mega elephants, follow the footsteps of a cheetah, and discover the flora and fauna of the Arabian Peninsula, while learning how humankind and nature can thrive in harmony. 

Huge installations inspired by iconic fairground attractions will then explain key sustainability issues and concepts. For example, a giant balance maze will require multiple people to collaborate to bring Earth into balance, symbolising Expo 2020’s theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. 

Visitors then reach a crossroads where their journey becomes a ‘choose your own adventure’. Will you venture ‘Under the Ocean’ or ‘Under the Forest’? The forest route will take visitors through the ‘Wood-Wide-Web' to learn about the amazing symbiotic network of roots and fungi that allow trees to communicate and share resources. ‘Under the Ocean’ offers a fascinating journey of discovery into the world of whales, dugongs, oysters and other marine life. Imagine being serenaded by a whale love-song as you progress into the hidden mysteries of the bioluminescent creatures that inhabit the ocean’s midnight zone – the area so deep it receives no sunlight. 

Pausing to catch their breath – after having it taken away by the majesty of our natural world – visitors will then switch gears to face the reality of humankind’s impact on nature. 

The Consumption Halls will lay bare the magnitude of the damage caused by consumer choices through installations such as Gnasher, an insatiable giant consumption-machine that ingests endless amounts of natural resources to churn out single-use consumer products, demonstrating how our choices depend on using the Earth's bounty – often needlessly. 

It is after this eye-opening section that visitors are encouraged to self-reflect and become conscious of their choices. A series of ‘would you rather?’ scenarios will challenge them to consider how individual behaviours directly impact our planet. 

Their journey will then be turned upside down at the Laboratory of Future Values. Embodying Expo 2020's message of ‘Welcome the Future’, the laboratory is a hopeful space that presents solutions to the challenges, issues and worries raised earlier. Communities, entrepreneurs, SMEs, governments, scientists and others who are working to preserve the environment (including grantees from Expo 2020’s US$100 million innovation and partnership programme Expo Live) will be on hand to present case studies and discuss their projects with visitors. 

The Terra experience culminates by asking visitors to make an individual pledge that supports positive change. This could be as simple as cutting back on food waste or not using single-use plastic. With capacity for 4,400 visitors per hour over 173 days, that could equal millions of changes that help preserve the environment. 

Mona Al-Ali, Senior Manager – Content, Sustainability Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai, said, "After such a thought-provoking and inspiring Terra experience, visitors will be motivated to make their own changes at a local level that, collectively on a global scale, will help protect and nurture our natural resources. Small steps can make a huge difference." 

During Expo 2020, Terra also will host entertaining and enriching events, such as science shows and cultural performances that reflect the subtheme. All food and beverages at Terra will be sustainably sourced and packaged, and visitors will learn where their food has come from and the impact it has had on the environment. 
The pavilion is designed to meet LEED Platinum green building standards – the top accreditation for sustainable architecture. It will set the highest standards for efficient use and reuse of energy and water and explore the latest sustainable technologies. 

Post-Expo, Terra will continue to inspire future generations and serve as an example of sustainable design, with the building to become a children and science centre in District 2020 – the new city that will transform from the Expo site. 

Terra is the first thematic experience to be revealed by Expo 2020. The other two key subthemes are Opportunity and Mobility. There are now less than 550 days until Expo 2020 opens its doors and welcomes the world to the UAE. It expects to record 25 million visits between 20th October, 2020, and 10th, April 2021. 











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