Building the Future

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Building the Future TV Poster Image
Conservation-minded docu is educational but dry.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Teaches about the efforts being made to balance preserving the earth's resources with meeting the demands of a growing population.

Violence & Scariness

Occasional scenes show the aftermath of natural disasters like floods and earthquakes.

Sexy Stuff

Satellite photos include a credit to provider Google Earth.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, as educational as this series is, its fairly dry subject matter isn't likely to interest kids or tweens. But families who do tune in will learn a lot about the factors straining the earth's resources and the efforts being made to preserve what still exists. And you may well find yourself inspired to pitch in by recycling and conserving energy, too. Expect some images of the aftermath of natural disasters like earthquakes and floods.

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What's the story?

With the planet's ever-increasing population placing escalating pressure on its resources, how can we ensure the Earth's sustainability? How can we expand in areas where land is scarce or the climate isn't conducive to human habitation? If we exhaust our current energy supply, what alternatives do we have? The intriguing documentary series BUILDING THE FUTURE explores the technological advances being made to help answer some of those questions. Each episode focuses on a different dilemma, including harnessing new energy sources, preparing for extreme climate changes, and protecting the fresh water supply as demand for it continues to increase.

Is it any good?

Building the Future has all the key elements of great family viewing -- it's educational, thought-provoking, and likely to encourage globally minded changes (recycling, energy conservation, etc.). But despite these great qualities, its dry subject matter may be a hard sell for action-seeking kids and tweens.

For example, one installment detailed planners' responses to the growing demand for real estate in a world where land supply is dwindling. The episode highlighted revolutionary new architectural designs that are pushing the limits on the types of structures being built -- including typhoon-resistant skyscrapers that can withstand the weather in Taipei, reinforced houses that make living in earthquake-prone California a little safer, and floating "amphibian" housing along Dutch waterways to make floods less of a threat. Interesting, yes; more appealing than a cartoon? Probably not.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of conservation. What natural resources do we rely on in our daily lives? How would our quality of life change without some or all of them? Are there alternatives for any of them? How do humans strain the earth's resources? What can individual people or small groups (like families!) do to help?

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