‘Man make fire’ is a favourite saying of mine when lighting the barbecue. 800,000 years ago early humans mastered the art of making fire by rubbing sticks together and cracking flints together. This kept them warm plus they could cook and protect themselves from animal attacks.
Modern day humans were very nearly not around today as 200,000 years ago a deadly ice age wiped out most of the world’s population. Remains found in South Africa at a site dubbed the Garden of Eden, is where it’s believed the few remaining humans survived the cold. Other sites have been found in Morocco and Ethiopia. Then around 170,000 years ago our ancestors first wore clothes to keep warm and started to spread widely across the planet by walking out of Africa via a then much shallower and narrower Red Sea.
Humans remained as hunter gatherers, killing game, catching fish, finding honey and eating whatever plants, fruit and nuts that were in season to survive. Then around 11,000 years ago man started to plant wheat, in South America 10,000 years ago potatoes were first cultivated. From maybe 8000 years ago animals were first kept as livestock. So food was available all year round and enabled populations to remain and thrive in one place, hence the earliest known buildings originate from 11,000 years ago.
These advances and inventions enabled humans to reproduce and survive to the present day; fire, clothing, tool making, agriculture and construction. The great Life of Brian sketch ‘What did the Romans do for us?’ hilariously sums up other innovations by man. It can be found on YouTube if a reminder is needed. Then along came the wheel, glass, gun powder, steam and the industrial revolution. Coal was then supplanted by oil as the provider of power and pollutant of choice.
Before World War Two, the Manhattan project started as Albert Einstein and others had warned President Roosevelt that the Germans were trying to create an atomic bomb. Some of the world’s greatest minds spent six years and the equivalent in today’s money of US $25bn creating the atomic bomb. On July 16th 1945 ‘The Gadget’ was tested in New Mexico. Present at the test Robert Oppenheimer said ‘I am become death- the destroyer of worlds!’ words spoken by Krishna from the Bhagavad Gita; a Hindu scripture. Another scientist Isidor Rabi said that he felt man had now become a grave threat to the world. The scientists tried in vain to stop the project after the test yet two weeks later the only two atomic weapons ever to be used in conflict detonated in Japan, killing and injuring over 200,000 people. To this day people still are afflicted by diseases such as leukaemia.
Since 1939 there have been over 60 military nuclear accidents and about 40 involving civilian nuclear power; 3 mile Island, Fukushima and Chernobyl are easily remembered plus of course Palomares in Almeria where 3 warheads fell from the sky in 1956 when the bomber carrying them broke up over the sea. People and creatures across the planet have died or suffer defects and debilitating illnesses to this day from these so called scientific advancements.
The Large Hadron Collider in Cern, Switzerland, is a huge machine scientists are using to look for the meaning of life which is of course 42! Recently a learned professor talked about his excitement of maybe opening extra dimensions and finding different galaxies and stars. What on earth are these people playing at, forget Dolly the sheep these mad scientists are playing with the very fabric of time and space. We have no idea what could happen but I have seen enough Sci-Fi movies to imagine. Maybe a black hole will appear which could swallow us all as we all disappear into it in a flash.
Mankind would be better looking inwardly rather than outwards, and trying to improve the planet for all its inhabitants. Why all this quest for bigger, faster, further when we have a beautiful planet thats desperately in need for lots of tlc. The Sun sends enough solar radiation to power all our energy needs many times over – harnessing this power on a scale much larger than is being done currently could stop all the fossil fuel burning thats spewing dangerous CO2 into the atmosphere and creating the climate change we are all witnessing now. Only when the last tree is dead will we realise we cannot eat money! Surely world peace, cures for illnesses and malnutrition are better ways to spend our time and money!