The World’s Fair | A History

The World’s Fair is a large public exhibition embedded in rich cultural tradition.  Originating in Paris with the industrial revolution, these grand expositions soon spread to continental Europe and the United Kingdom before making their mark across the world.  The grandfather fair, reverently referred to as the “Great Exhibition” was Prince Albert’s proposal to model regionally manufactured products in order to induce international trade and relations, buoy tourism and propagate art and design education.  The structure and ideology of this 1851 fair offered a clear precedent for the World’s Fair and it has continued to attract millions world-wide today.  The 2015 World’s Fair is being held in Milan, Italy.

Great_Exhibition_fountain_1851

While culture sharing has always been and remains vital, the development of the World’s Fair can be distinguished in three Eras of characteristic evolution: Industrialization, Cultural Exchange and Nation Branding.

The Industrial Era, which lasted roughly from 1800 to 1938 focused heavily on trade and boasted technological inventions and industrial design in a rapidly advancing technological world.  Modern technologies were brought together from all over the world marking momentous occasions in historical information sharing.  Expositions such as the Philadelphia 1876 Centennial Exhibition with the debut of Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone and Chicago 1893 Fair presenting the early dishwasher became landmarks of advancement, procuring a progressive image of the World’s Fair.

During the Era of Cultural Exchange, beginning with New York’s 1939 World Fair, themed “Building a Better Tomorrow”, expositions took on diverging cultural themes, anticipating a bright future.  The focus of fairs became less about specific technologies and more about intercultural communication for the exchange and growth of innovation.  As cultural recognition and societal strength became of greater importance, the Era of Nation Branding began.

Countries began to use the World’s Fair as a platform to strengthen their national images through branding and architecture.  Great pavilions were erected and stand today as representations of great nations such as Japan, Canada, Finland and Spain.  Stunning architecture and nation branding required solid financial investment and thus, several nations shied away from hosting Expositions, fearing that the cost would outweigh the benefits.  The 2000 Dutch Exposition pavilion cost an approximate €35 million, but is thought to have brought in €350 million in turn for a thriving Dutch economy.

The World’s Fair has seen much evolution over the course of two hundred years and today embodies the characteristic of all three Eras.  Each fair presents the newest technologies including art and architecture while fostering cultural networking and bolstering a reputably positive national image. One of the few lasting, globally impacting traditions of our Earth, the World’s Fair is a magnificent opportunity for individuals, communities, cultures and societies to reach out as a part of an ever-evolving humanity.

Sustainable Living: Kitchen Tips from the Great Depression

It just so happens that sustainable living practices coincide with times of recession.

It makes sense, when you think about it. During economic recession, saving money means using less – turning down the heat, making your own dinner, and using less fuel, being kind to the earth as a result.

In general, these practices also mean being healthier. It’s a 3-in-1 deal, and how can you say no to that?

The amount of things you can do to save energy are only as limited as your imagination. It just means reworking how you think. Do you really need to throw away that Ziplock bag, or can you reuse it?

Today’s tip: Make your own food.

(This goes along with our post about victory gardens! Growing your own vegetables, fruit and herbs is cheap and fun.)

Pre-made/frozen meals use more plastic & cardboard waste than home-cooked meals, not to mention all the added sugar & preservatives. Do your body and your wallet a favor: don’t buy prepared meals.

Just take a tip from YouTube star Clara, a 94-year-old cook who demonstrates meals that her mother made during the Great Depression. In her popular online show, she shows how to stretch ingredients to the furthest degree and still get a great meal out of it.

You can check out Clara’s videos and recipes here.

"Wilt-not waste-not" fresh vegetable care released from 1941-1945

“Wilt-not waste-not” fresh vegetable care released from 1941-1945

  • Cooking your own meals takes some planning. It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it. Plan out a week’s worth of meals, including leftovers, before you go to the grocery store. That’ll keep you from the temptation from buying unnecessary, unhealthy packaged food.
  • Fresh food is your friend! So are rice & pasta, good staples to keep in your pantry.
  • Reduce the amount of meat you use, or get rid of it altogether. Meat is more expensive than most other foods you’ll buy.

And there you have it. Some simple ideas to get the healthy train going. If you eat out constantly, try starting out with a couple cooked dinners a week, and see where it takes you!

Do you have any kitchen tips not mentioned here? Do your fellow sustainable cooks a favor and write your tips in the comments!

How to Start Your Own Victory Garden

Winter is on its way, but some of us are already dreaming of spring. And why not put that anticipation of spring to good use?

During World War I and World War II, the government promoted the creation of “victory gardens” or “war gardens”, vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted on private property and public parks.

On a similar vein, Seattle, WA has confirmed plans to build a “Food Forest” full of fruit trees, herbs, and more, all available to the public free of charge.

Creating victory gardens helped with multiple things at once. The public food system was becoming overburdened, and if citizens created their own gardens, more factory food could be shipped to soldiers. They also made people feel like they were truly contributing to the war effort and boosted morale.

411px-INF3-96_Food_Production_Dig_for_Victory_Artist_Peter_Fraser

“A Victory Garden is like a share in an airplane factory. It helps win the War and pays dividends too.” -Claude R. Wickard

Victory gardens can be just as useful today – for slightly different reasons. With a growing movement toward at-home solutions, self-reliance, and locally grown foods, victory gardens fit right into place.

So how do you start your own? With perseverance, yard space, and some seeds.

  • Planning is important, which is why you should take the winter season to read up on gardening and the right plants for your area of the world.

408px-Deposit_Seed_Co_Victory_Garden_Catalog_1944_-_Flickr_-_USDAgov

  • Pick your plants. Which veggies, fruits or herbs do you eat the most often? If you’re new to gardening, which ones are the easiest to grow?
  • Decide where to plant your garden. Will you pick a nice patch in your backyard, or will you need to use creative containers like window boxes?

With some patience and reading up, a victory garden can be yours!

Sources:

Victory Garden Informational pdf
As usual, Wikipedia
Starting a Victory Garden
Wartime Educational Film

Sustainable Living: What We Can Learn from the Great Depression

At the time of the Great Depression, people used whatever tricks they could to live frugally and not use up their resources.

Today, “Green Living” has been introduced to help the planet as well as save money in today’s economic downturn. But in today’s world of mass production where no one in the millennial generation knows how to darn socks, many have to completely re-learn methods of waste-free living.

We would like to help aid the movement toward sustainable living. Using research on living at the time of the Great Depression, we’ll write a series of articles describing the methods they used at the time of the Great Depression and give helpful suggestions adapted for today’s audience.

A woman with canned fruit for the winter in 1933.

A woman with canned fruit, ready for the winter in 1933.

In an article on Yahoo Voices written by Stewart Lodge, Stewart describes the Depression as a simpler time when nothing was put to waste if anyone could help it. Kids used plastic bread wrappers for lunchboxes, people wore shoes until they fell apart (then fixed the soles themselves), and canned their fruit for the winter.

Times may be different now, but where applicable, we can still learn from the past.

A simple motto to start with is this: Learn to love used stuff.

 

 

Does everything you buy really need to be new? Sometimes the hand crafted items that have stood the test of time are the better options. Not to mention the vintage charm and history they contain. (You might find some old items you like scattered throughout our other blog articles!)

And sometimes things you’ve owned for a long time don’t necessarily need to be replaced. Have a couch that’s getting a little shabby? Simply give it a snazzy new couch cover or replace the springs. Rework your thoughts from “I need to get a new one” to “How can I fix this?” That way you can save money and also stop that couch from going to the landfill.

Sometimes the way to start a big change is with small steps, and internalizing small mottos like this one can go a long way.

Make sure to check back regularly for posts on how you can make a difference with sustainable living!

And help us out in the comments: What do you do to live sustainably?