Letter: Sustaining the Millennium

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Sustaining the Millennium

Sir: The present concept of a pounds 400m Millennium Exhibition of UK goods to be co-funded by government and business ("An Exhibition of ourselves", 17 May) appears to be floundering. Perhaps a less ambitious exhibition of "Sustainable Futures" could be held instead in temporary accommodation in Hyde Park, the site of the 1851 Great Exhibition.

Industry, local authorities, government departments, charities and individuals would be invited to submit ideas and concepts for sustainable futures. These might include electric cars, tele-working, recycling opportunities, plans for biodiversity, systems for low input farming, sustainable development systems for Third World countries, policies for full employment that do not rely on economic growth, and so on. Since this exhibition could be staged for a fraction of the cost of the proposed Greenwich exhibition, 50 per cent funding for worthwhile projects could be provided. This funding could give many "seed corn" ideas the necessary impetus to be developed and give them the showcase that such an event would provide.

A Sustainable Futures Exhibition could act as a focus for sustainable world development, with John Major's commitment to the Rio Declaration being confirmed, and concern for our less successful Commonwealth countries firmly established.

It could give British innovation and industry an incentive to look ahead and establish new products for the next millennium, when the world's increasing population will have to tread more softly upon the earth.