scorecardTerra - Dubai's own 'Gate-way' to sustainable future
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Terra - Dubai's own 'Gate-way' to sustainable future

Terra - Dubai's own 'Gate-way' to sustainable future
LifeScience3 min read
Dense with numbers and facts and peppered with charts and tables, in his supremely authoritative and extremely important work - How to Avoid a Climate Disaster - the philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates forcefully argues why it is important for the world to practice sustainable living failing which he warns could cause five times more deaths than the Spanish flu a century ago. It is in the backdrop of this timely and most memorable work, Terra - the Sustainability Pavilion created at the Expo 2020 venue in Dubai becomes relevant.

The pavilion which would be open to the public till April 10 and designed by renowned Grimshaw Architects is a great example of sustainability building design and it prompts everyone to critically analyse his lifestyle choices and their impact on the environment. A wide range of educational installations, an immersive journey and an interactive walk through the roots of the forest where every footprint affects the wood-wide-web, the greenest show on earth underlines the urgent need to live in harmony with nature, in no uncertain terms, shelving the path of destruction that we often choose to satisfy our greed.

Terra captures the beauty of the natural world in all its glory, endeavoring for net zero water and net zero energy consumption and as the eyes feasts on the stunning structure they certainly won't miss the giant solar canopy on the top of the pavilion with over 1,000 photovoltaic panels arranged on a 130-metre-wide roof canopy and atop a series of 18 'Energy Trees' that rotate, following the path of the sun. Sheena Khan, the media tour guide, manger (education, legal development and impact) says Terra has the technology that collects water from air and a greywater recycling system.

A walk inside the forest, exploring the root network of trees, one learns how trees communicate with each other, share each other's resources and protect each other when a threat looms large. The Wood Wide Web aided with adept use of digital technology succeeds in creating an ambience which cannot be rivaled by any other creation except Mother Nature. After the 360-degree sensory feast that the rainforest and natural world presents, one comes out of the mesmeric spell to the harsh and bitter realities of the world around us - the world of our making!

Rolling ocean waves that cut through mountains of plastic waste, misleading and often fake advertisements that fuels unhealthy consumption and a gasping nature that is choked by poisonous pollutants and finally an enormous U-shaped machine appropriately named Gnasher with a big mouth and grinding teeth. A machine of endless consumption, Gnasher not only reminds us that everything we use was once a natural resource but it also symbolically represents the pitiable picture of the man of today, driven by an insatiable appetite to consume more and even more. Standing before Gnasher, one cannot but help asking himself: Is our life meant to end like this? Is there no redemption, hope?

In answer to these questions, one is next led to the Laboratory of Future Values featuring hydroponic gardens and dioramas that showcase sustainable living solutions, definitely a brighter path, a hopeful space that offers solutions to challenges. Spread in an area of 6,300 square meters and capable of hosting 4,400 people per hour, the journey through Terra takes visitors through appreciation, self-reflection and ultimately hope.

Gates is clear that it is imperative to bring the emission to zero from the 51 billion which is the total number of tons emitted per year globally. "It's the hardest thing humanity has ever done," says Gates Despite being a mammoth task considering the politics that often pollutes any discussion on the topic of climate change, it is heartening to see that Dubai has come up with the Terra pavilion at the Expo 2020 site which is bound to spark interest among common people, prompting them to take step towards a sustainable future.

DISCLAIMER: This article is a part of featured content series on Business in Dubai.