“The smallest change in lifestyle can make the biggest difference,” are the first words you hear at the entrance of the Opportunity Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. The statement sets the theme for the rest of the pavilion.
Located in the Opportunity District and lined with terracotta to represent the Earth’s crust, the thematic pavilion highlights the role of people in bringing our world forward. On Friday, September 24, the pavilion, which has the slogan ‘Mission Possible’, opened its doors to the media and disclosed its unique visitor journey.
“The terracotta that lines the floor and façade of the pavilion represents our Earth and the people who walk on it, whereas the canopy is made to look like clouds, which represent our dreams,” said Anoosha Al Marzouqi, director of the Opportunity Pavilion.
Journey through the Opportunity Pavilion
The visitor experience focuses on three main ‘tracks’, which run through the pavilion, focusing on water, food and energy. These topics were chosen because they are a part of the Sustainable Development Goals, which were set up by the United Nations General Assembly.
The tracks are brought to life by three ‘guides’, hailing from the UAE, Peru and Zanzibar, who virtually meet people and take them along the ride.
Representing the UAE is a sustainable organic farmer who promotes eco-friendly farming and healthy eating practices, while also encouraging people to grow their own vegetables.
From Zanzibar, a woman who teaches other women how to install solar panels, helping to create sustainable energy in the country, showcases her efforts in providing energy to the population.
Whereas Peru’s representative, has helped to solve the problem of water shortage in Lima, by setting up fog nets that harvest fog and turn it into water.
“By showcasing these people and sharing their stories, the idea is to awaken the spirit of possibilities, hence the name [Mission Possible],” said Al Marzouqi.
Just like how the Sustainability Pavilion showcases solutions and innovation to reach environmental goals, the Opportunity Pavilion focuses on individuals and their actions in achieving these objectives. The displays are a constant reminder of this.
For example, walls on one of the rooms list names of the many projects in the UAE and around the world which have helped provide water, energy and food in their respective communities.
Similarly, a room called the Garden of Pledges features an interactive screen, which asks you to commit to a habit that could make change. This includes habits such as growing your own vegetables in your balcony or using environmentally-friendly cleaning products.
On the same note, one of the videos in the hallways show an Emirati date farmer who has helped to promote agriculture and produce Emirati dates, which are sold around the world. Similarly, an Emirati beekeeper’s honey is sold in the retail section right outside the pavilion.
“We showcase sustainable projects and people who are helping make a difference, one person at a time,” said Al Marzouqi.
The retail area is adjacent to the food and beverages area, which, again, goes with the theme of sustainability. According to Al Marzouqi, most of the food available at the eateries just outside the pavilion is locally grown.