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Better city, better life makes the world a better place

Anna Siitam

EXPO in Shanghai

Arriving at the EXPO sight makes you feel like you have entered a modern city with electric buses and one building is more impressive than the other. Not all of the pavilions focused on the topic of a better city as in being more environmental friendly. A visit to the astonishing Saudiarabian pavilion showed the use of digital technology to show of beautiful sceneries and architecture, but the message of a better future was somewhat lost in the technology and the WOW-feeling.

The EU celebrated Europe Day with a drum party and a EU-China Youth Summit to prepare for the EU-China year of youth 2011. The youth representatives from China and the EU countries discussed together with representatives from the European Parliament and the European Commission as well as a few representatives from Chinese ministries. One of the political themes of this year’s discussion was also the topic of dealing with climate change. This is obviously an important theme for the younger generation. A panel discussion with panelists such as Jie Yu from the Climate Group’s Policy and Research Program in China and Dr Elina Bardram, climate change policy coordinator from the European Commission discussed climate change as a major challenge how ever with opportunities of more employment with green jobs and innovative ideas. Having this discussion in Shanghai was very effective due to the gray air from the pollution and the massive spread of lung cancer that has followed.

Mr Gunesse, the ambassador of Mauritius in the EU also mentioned his friend’s island that is likely soon to dissapear a long with his friend’s house and millions of people are dying due to the lack of drinkable water or sanitary means. The pavilion Urban Planet was one of the few pavilions really taking the issue of climate change seriously and very effectively visually showed the visitors how we have to change our lifestyle to be able to save the environment.

After visiting a lot of pavilions and spending three days basically living in this EXPO land, I started referring to the different areas of pavilions with their continents and found myself saying sentences like “I am going to take the bus down to Africa” or “I think I am going to eat in Italy today”.

Leaving the EXPO feels a bit like leaving Disneyland behind and going out in the real world.