As a family history researcher and as an elder, I have a fair amount of knowledge about the past and how lucky we are today. For myself, I remember rationing on food, clothes and anything else that was available even sweets. We made do with a little and my parents learned how to make a small amount go a long way. We did not have a phone or a car and used public transport or walked everywhere. It was nothing new to walk into town which was over a mile away. I walked to school as well until I was about 12 years old and had a cycle. I remember that the air was so dirty that washing was only put out on the line to dry when the wind was blowing away from us. After the Clean Air Act, we now have much cleaner air but this is getting worse again due to the heavy use of cars. The recent publication of the 1921 census brought home to me how lucky I was then as a child. In 1921 there were strikes in the coal mines because the government had given them back to their owners who wanted to pay the miners less money for their work. The area I lived in was full of coal mines, pottery manufacturers, iron and steel works and brick yards. It was a dirty place to live but there was no choice if you wanted to work.

So how is it different today? Generally we have good housing, food and clothes and many families have cars and mobile phones as well as access to the internet. But people still moan about not having this or not having that or the shelves are empty in the supermarket. I was trying to remember the first supermarket I used. I had always shopped locally or at the small co-op as I got everything I needed that way and vegetables and fruit were fresh.

We have had some restrictions over the last few months or so and many have got fed up with this and moan about it all the time. Why not take some time to be grateful for what you do have? Look at what you need versus what you want. I am sure you will find there is a difference. Changes are on the way, some big ones that will make use stop and take stock. If we are going to make our planet safe for us all then we have to change how we live. Start now before we are all forced to change whether we want to or not. Be grateful for what you have and keep it safe.

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