In a way this book stops being a history book at this point and changes into a news article about the modern world. The outcome of many of the topics in this final chapter are still very much unclear and it will take another 50 or 100 years before historians decide which developments need to be mentioned in history books like this. Maybe Facebook (discussed in this chapter) turns out to be a minor footnote in the big scheme of things and the revolutionising ideas of Elon Musk (not discussed in this chapter) change the world on a deeper level. We simply don’t know yet.
The topics discussed in this chapter are a random, somewhat personal, selection of things that have shown up in the newspapers and gotten my attention. The new tensions between the United States, the European Union, Russia and China may develop into dangerous conflicts, maybe even war. The number of nuclear weapons is growing and the amount nuclear power plants is decreasing due to the fear of radiation poisoning. The climate is changing, possibly with devastating results, and local traditions and languages are vanishing because of globalisation. The European Union is going through a rough time as Britain left the Union and all over the mainland people say their countries should leave as well.
Meanwhile, most people in the West carry on with their lives, only half-consciously following the news. They use Facebook and Google and shop on AliExpress without worrying too much about the possible negative consequences, both for their personal lives or the environment. Despite all this negativity, however, today’s world is a very safe and healthy place for many people. Never before in the history of humanity could so many people (both in absolute and relative numbers) enjoy a good life. Maybe we all focus too much on the negativity shot at us by the media. Maybe a bright future awaits us, who knows?
The picture of Earth taken from a spacecraft made it clear to us that our world may feel large, but far from infinite. The small globe in the inky blackness of space even makes a fragile impression. Many people realised after seeing this picture that the world as a whole could be in danger. Global warming, large inter-continental conflicts, disease, famine, all threaten our planet and our species. We should take care of our environment and our planet as a whole.
- Lectures 6
- Quizzes 0
- Duration 50 hours
- Skill level All levels
- Language English
- Students 59
- Assessments Yes