How many of us sat through the bbc's Dreamhouse? I couldn't bear to watch more than the first one. Seeing a serious demonstration project hi-jacked by the tv types, put over in a superficial and rather lighthearted way and presented by an intelligent woman who ought to know better, ensured I would watch no more. Cheap jokes about workmen not peeking while Carol Vorderman showers in the prefabricated bathroom don't convince anyone to take environmental stewardship seriously.
Balancing this was a recent pre-opening visit I was lucky to make to the Doncaster Earth Centre (which is actually at Conisborough-Denaby Main). I now feel more than ever that this planet cannot continue to survive in the face of the relentless consumerism that is constantly preached (Dreamhouse was full of it). The whole of the western economies are based on a lifestyle which is only propped up by the profligate consumption of the world's finite resources.
As individuals we can make small changes, but as building professionals working in the built environment we are in a privileged position to offer significant help in steering our world towards a sustainable future. Can any of us look back and realise we did nothing to help or, worse, contributed to the decline? We should help make this change for the better, not for ourselves, nor for our children, but because this planet is not ours and we have no right to destroy it.
I would urge everyone to visit the Earth Centre at least once. It opens on 2 April, although not built yet is the exciting Future Systems 'butterfly building' which is part of a later phase. Your visit should preferably be by public transport as there are significant reductions in the entry fee if you do this. If you visit by train (it stops only a stone's throw from the entrance), this nets you a 40 per cent reduction in your entry fee, ie £8.95 reduced to £4.95. Now that's really putting your money where your mouth is.