A dark wall at Expo 2020 Dubai, against a sky and trees. The wall has cut outs in the shape of birds. The sun shines through the central cut out.

How can we bring a little Expo into our lives every day?

With Expo 2020 Dubai drawing to a close at the end of the month, we can’t help but feel a tremendous sense of excitement for the future. Six months spent in the company of world-changing ideas, people and technologies isn’t just thrilling, it’s inspiring and, importantly, incredibly motivating. So, how do we take this forward? What can we do at an individual level to take the spirit of Expo 2020 Dubai with us every day? Where can we be changemakers every day?

The incredible city created by Expo 2020 Dubai contains three districts, each filled with eye-opening solutions to the challenges of the modern world. The Sustainability District speaks for itself, with visitors to the incredible ‘Terra’ Pavilion exploring everything from planet-friendly eating to alternative energies, the future of biodiversity and even extraordinary future-centric ways of conserving water. The Mobility District offers a glimpse of a connected future in a global society, where information, ideas and goods are exchanged. And the Opportunity District opens up a world of empowerment, social innovation and human connection in a technology-driven world. However, the sheer scale of Expo – in terms of physical size and conceptually – may cause us to ask what these themes mean for our lives today. So, we have translated the planet-sized ideas of Expo into life-sized ways to change your world, little by little, every single day.

Mobility: Think big, but never underestimate the power of one person

It’s important to free our minds and be open to ideas and opportunities. It’s how we grow as people and as societies. But it’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and not give ourselves the time to explore – whether that’s new experiences, places or even people. But while it’s great to know the bigger picture, how can you use a wider awareness of the world to make a difference? In my daily life, I’ll be:

  • Taking time to learn about how others experience the world and use this to consider other perspectives, both personally and professionally.
  • Saying yes. When someone asks for volunteers, put yourself forward, even if it’s outside your comfort zone.
  • Challenging my thinking – following people on social media who don’t share my world view. Or who specialise in a subject that I know little about but wish I did.

A pair of legs and an arm. The legs are wearing waterproof rubber boots and jeans and are submerged to the ankle in what appears to be a stream, with grassy banks. The arm is wearing a yellow plastic washing up glove and holds a discarded plastic bottle. The other arm, unseen, hold a blue plastic litter bag. In the water is another discarded plastic bottle.
There are so many ways we can challenge ourselves, support each other and look after our planet.

Sustainability: Be a custodian of our planet

It’s been said so many times before, but everyone has a part to play in creating a positive future for our planet. In the Sustainability District we were encouraged to think carefully about how we consume the planet’s resources through the energy we use, the things we buy and even the food we eat. With this in mind, there are plenty of small everyday changes that can contribute to a big difference:

  • Switching to energy efficient options wherever possible
  • Giving extra thought to purchases – is it needed? Does it come from a sustainable source? Can it be recycled?
  • Consider what eating habits. Buying an organic vegetable box instead of packaged veg creates less waste and is better for pollinators, some have even committed to having a couple of meat-free days every week.

Opportunity: Learn new things, empower others

As Socrates may or may not have said, “I know that I know nothing”. So, receive every new piece of knowledge with joy and curiosity, whether it comes from an unexpected source in random conversations, an article from Bloomberg or an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? However, the idea of creating learning opportunities for yourself and the people around you can feel like a herculean task. For me, the trick is to not think of it as a project.

  • Immediately sharing things that might be interesting or useful to a colleague or friend.
  • Making a pact to read every day for half an hour. It’s impossible to read and not learn something new. Even if it’s just a word you’ve never seen before.
  • Thinking about how my knowledge can support others. Maybe by offering careers advice or helping a local charity to run more efficiently. Or simply raising my head above my laptop and saying, “would you like a hand?’

Expo 2020 Dubai has showcased the pinnacles of human endeavour through art, technology, sustainable design and architecture. It has shown millions of people what can be achieved if we look at the world together and see no limits to the change we can effect. But every change begins with one person, and a single action can be more powerful than you could ever imagine. Especially when we all take them.

Written by Sarah Vloothuis, External Communications Senior Manager EMEA

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