Last night I watched a program about changes which have occurred in mankind’s history for the past few thousand years, using photos from space to illustrate the changes. I hadn’t realised that the Europeans were the last to change from being hunter gatherers to farming communities.  With the invention of the steam engine in the UK they quickly grew from small communities to cities, necessary for the mass production enabled by the engine. They continue to grow today with all the problems these produce, including congestion and impersonalisation. When we consider the rural communities our ancestors lived in approximately 250 years ago, where everyone knew everyone else,  to the anonymous cities  today in which people often don’t even know their next door neighbours, we have undergone huge changes in a short space of time.

Life itself has quickened up, particularly with speedier transport. In the early days of the trains people predicted a limited lifespan for them as they went so fast: 30 miles per hour! Equally disadvantageous was the loss of the green environment in which we lived. It had given us a link to the living world around us and of which we were part. It provided us with our food and clothing and the other necessities of life. Our modern supermarkets do an inadequate job in replacing this world. Our children grow up with the idea that food comes from the supermarket fridge, not from the soil around us.

This is important because those who are looking at the big picture are concerned that at the present rate of land usage from the growing cities, there won’t be enough space left to feed us. They are suggesting growing it in food towers which can grow it more efficiently with less water. They don’t seem to have come up with a solution to the huge amounts of land required for meat production- cages are becoming very unpopular. We are going to have to face these issues in the next few decades. Meanwhile our cities will continue to grow along with their disadvantages.

Our leaders don’t even seem to be aware of where we are heading and far too many individuals are only concerned with their own day-to-day problems, only thinking of difficulties in relation to these.

The main message of the TV program was that the time has past when we could think in terms of our own ambitions at a national level- what we should be doing is thinking at a world level and where this planet, our common home, is heading. Because it has survived so long as a home for us all it is easy to think that what has always been will continue to be, whereas the opposite is likely to happen.

As our cities continue to grow, so will all the problems associated with them. Maybe ordinary citizens could start with this problem, particularly as it will only get worse as more people are attracted to them. Lets make a joint effort to humanize them. That would at least be a start to us all pulling together in the problems ahead.