Welcome Home :) By Emma Kvaale

On Tuesday, January 19th we embarked on our journey to the Cradle of Humankind, a historical site aimed at helping people discover their human heritage. We traveled along the timeline of some of the major events in our earth’s history, experienced evolution, saw an original fossil display and learned about science and sustainability.
When learning about what it means to be human, I realized how powerful the human race is. Our earth started 4.6 billion years ago as a burning ball of fire and gas spinning through space. Earths land masses then moved to form continents. Today we speak over 2,600 languages. The exhibit progressed into the discussion of human evolution and DNA. As a science nerd, it was fascinating to read that scientists have studied mitochondrial DNA to trace all modern humans to a single common female ancestor who lived about 200,000 years ago… She is from Africa.
Despite all the violence and inequality we have learned about that took place in South Africa, the Cradle of Humankind provided myself with hope and a sense of pride. Biologist Richard Dawkins said “we are survival machines- robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes”. Simply put, we have evolved to become a multifaceted, …. human race that has become so knowledgable and powerful that destruction has occurred. One description even noted humans as “foolish masters” who are beginning to increase rather than decrease environmental risks.
The exhibit proceeded to talk about this destruction we are capable of, and why sustainability is so important. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, food production and global patterns of poverty are closely linked. Overall, the rich Northern hemisphere is well fed and the poor Southern hemisphere is undernourished. After seeing firsthand the undernourishment experienced by those in townships, it was upsetting to read that it is “our collective voracious appetite” that is straining our planet. As food and water intake increase, waste increases and our nature elements get depleted. Writer, Graham Lester George wrote “if we dont act now, the terrible irony is that our great grandchildren will only know of ancient forests through pictures in books printed on the paper that contributed to their extinction”. Reading that gave me chills, as sustainability is not something I have willingly implemented into my life. I realized that there is no point in trying to fix the evils of our world if it is just going to die out if we do not take care of our planet.
All in all, my visit to the Cradle of Humankind gave me a greater appreciation for the earth and our race. It united the hundreds of cultures in my mind as one, and motivated me to make more sustainable efforts. Hopefully all who visit the Cradle of Humankind will leave with a greater respect for the world they live in, but if not, “Will we destroy ourselves?”

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