By: B. Sapoznik
As you might know, our floating rock on space, Earth, is estimated to be over 4.543 billion years old. In this time, lots of things have happened to it. Things such as ice ages, dinosaurs, continental separations, etc. Humans have only been alive for the past 2 million years. Since then, our species have been slowly evolving to the modern creatures we are today. Earth also changed with our existence, and even if this generation is only between 0 and 100 years old, we can still record the major changes in our world according to our ancestors. Which leads us to the grand question, how has our world changed from how it was in the past?
Well, it’s hard to explain. The answer relies on what we define as change, and what we define as past. For example, change can vary from ecological to technological, and past from 1 billion to 100 years ago. To be honest, we have changed a lot since the year zero, one year after Christ’s birth. In 2022 years, we have evolved in such aspects as technology, environment, communication, construction, and many others.
In technology, humans started off by producing very simple utensils, such as wooden items that had a very large field of practicality in our ancient day-to-day lives. Through centuries, we have been able to produce many other variations of these early machines, but nothing comparable to the great Industrial Revolution. In the Industrial Revolution, many people started to understand more complex technology, which made life much more practical. They stored these new items in factories, where rural workers would immigrate to work with the machines and gain money. An example of a leap in technology in the Industrial Revolution is the spinning wheel to the spinning Jenny. The spinning wheel could only intake 1 spindle of fabric to make clothes, when the Jenny could intake from 8-120 spindles at a time! After the Industrial Revolution, more like the 20th century, people started investing in much more advanced technologies, some of which had electric wiring. These included newly released automobiles, light bulbs, simple computers, etc. In 100 years (the present day) most technologies are now 100% electrical, and we have created many upgrades of past technologies. For those of you who don’t know, we don’t use spinning Jenny’s anymore, we use weaving machines.
As for the environment, we’ve not so much advanced, but more to worsened the situation. Centuries ago, our species lived in harmony with nature, with the environment serving as our habitat, whilst we contributed to its food web. Although, through the centuries, humans evolved, and learned how to use nature to suit our needs (for example creating fires/houses). Also, we have learned to extract its resources for our own personal gain. In the Industrial revolution, we started releasing sudden bursts of CO2 overloads, heating up the environment. Nowadays, we have created small civilizations (cities or towns) on the place where our past environment was. Furthermore, we started chopping trees for wood, paper, etc. We are now destroying our once loved nature, because of our selfish evolution ideas.
In communication, we have certainly evolved a lot. Some millenniums ago (about 5), humans started to communicate by their fingers. By this, I mean writings. Hieroglyphs were anciently used for communicating between people, and the alphabet was soon taught generation after generation. With the ancient language, people firstly started understanding each other, until they were finally able to verbally communicate. When humans were able to talk, they could barely understand each other, due to each person’s own genes and communication skills. So, people decided on native languages, where everyone could understand everyone. Little did they know that many species and tribes also had their own native languages. Through the centuries, these languages have proven to naturally evolve, reaching the languages we speak nowadays. Today, it is estimated that over 7 thousand different languages exist, and lots of countries have their own national language. Moreover, the most spoken languages in the world are estimated to be Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi, etc.
In construction, humans have been leading a great on-going process. Millions of years ago, humans started creating their own tools for building. The first tools would include stone axes, sticks, cords, sand, etc. For thousands of years, humans built their own practical environment (homes, carved caves, treehouses, etc.). We have discovered very important materials for building (like cement) and have learned and developed many recipes for our ideal construction. Since ancient times, humans have also cultivated the Earth’s natural resources and ores for building. Since the 17th century, humans have been able to create houses and even building for shelter, which later evolved into cities. Nowadays, we build common houses/buildings in a short term (1-5 years) and we use new technological resources every day for the optimization and efficiency of our buildings. Lastly, these cities we have created also stand in the place of our natural environment, which we have heartlessly destroyed.
In conclusion, everything stated to this point is my personal measure of humas evolution and how we have differenced our world from ancient times. According to these (or to other aspects), do you think our present world is better or worse than our past one, and in what context?