In this episode, we see how our generation is changing the face of the earth as never before. We can travel further and faster than any point in history. Our desire to move is inspiring: millions of us can travel across the planet in a matter of hours but that everyday miracle is started in a rather humble way.
On 17 December 1903, the Wright Brothers tried a new form of travel which triggered a whole century of innovation. They invented the aeroplane, developed from glides from the year before.
Today we can travel from continent to continent so easily that it’s as though we’ve brought the whole world to our doorstep. All the world is suddenly within reach. Ours is the generation that shrunk the world.
The biggest road builder is the world new superpower – China. To shrink the vast country, the Chinese have traversed ravines, tunnelled through mountains and across some of the world’s widest rivers.
The presenter experiences what it is like to work on building a suspension bridge. With trepidation and in panic and fear (“God, it’s scary!I’m proper scared, genuinely proper scared. Coming down here, it’s so deep where I don’t even know how high we are. But, like, stupid high. And these scaffold boards just seem really, really rickety.”) He realises one secret to building a bridge on this scale is incredible bravery.
Another epic sight is the G50- a road that stretches for almost 1,200 miles, connecting one of the remotest areas (Chongqing) to Shanghai. It includes the world’s highest bridge: the Siduhe Bridge. The view from up here is so spectacular that the presenter is rendered speechless! (I was just agape.) This bridge has transformed not just the landscape but also the lives of its inhabitants. It has cut travelling time dramatically, whether it’s for work or leisure. China now has half of the world’s top 100 highest bridges, all of them built in the last couple of decades.In 1989, China had fewer than 100 miles of expressway but now it has more than 50,000, more than the entire European Union.
By thinking globally, we’re realising the elusive dream of previous generations. With stunning ambition, we’ve connected the furthest reaches of our globe and made travel easier than ever. Our ingenuity and ambition has enabled us to move and the planet in previously unimaginable ways. By creating these new networks, we’ve changed how we live on the planet for ever.