THE other day I watched the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures which were all about “Who Am I?”

They were given by Professor Alice Roberts and she talked about human beings and their relationship to each other and to other animals on the planet, stressing the connectedness of all living creatures both at the anatomical and genetic level.

What really struck me was a demonstration of the time man has been around on our planet compared to other organisms.

Professor Roberts brought in a thick roll of gauzy material about a foot wide with just a thin black strip — about an inch long — at one end.

This represented the length of man’s existence on earth.

Then she started to unroll the material — yards of red representing other mammals; with the help of a leaf blower the red was followed by yards of green billowing into the audience — this was reptiles — then yellow for multicellular organisms followed by yards and yards and yards of white which represented single-celled organisms.

There must have been several hundred feet of material lying there at the end, with just that one inch representing the time we had been on the planet (300,000 years).

We are such newcomers and yet we have managed to achieve so much and at the same time do so much damage to our home.

It was a very sobering thought.

However, her message that we are all connected to each other and to all other life on Earth was a very positive one, especially in these times of racism, anti-Semitism and bigotry.

We are all different and yet the same.

Carolyn Jones

Hon Sec Altrincham Interfaith Group

and member of Dunham Road Unitarian Chapel