A Plea for a New Direction

Humans are rubbish. We are inefficient, emotional and slow to adapt. If it wasn't for the opposable thumb we would have all been wiped out millennia ago, killed off by something with bigger teeth and more power. I watched a documentary last night where a spider had the ability to turn itself into a wheel and roll down sand dunes in order to get away from dangers. It would have developed this marvellous ability millions of years ago, while in relative terms man only invented the wheel last Tuesday. We think we are brilliant because we can get 80 mpg+ from the vehicles we use, but do you know how long an Albatross can glide for, without flapping its wings once, powered only by a couple of measly fish? Six days. They can fly for ten years without touching down on dry land! Now that’s efficiency! Most creatures in the animal kingdom can go for weeks or months on end without food and function perfectly well. Yet if we miss one of our three meals a day we go all light headed and wobbly at the knees. It’s pathetic! I'm amazed we've made it this far.

We certainly aren't the strongest or the most able bodied species, even an Aardvark can dig faster than six men with shovels! Our saviour, and frankly our weakness, remains our intelligence; our self-awareness and curiosity which  has meant we haven’t needed to adapt to climates or evolve new amazing ways of doing things as we can adjust our surroundings to suit us and invent things to do what we are unable to do ourselves. As a result of our genius we have a remarkably comfortable existence, but I can’t help but feel we need to stop being so cocky and self-important and look to where the real genius lies, in nature.

Imagine if we could mimic these great feats of nature; imagine if your car could run for months on end without needing refuelling, much like a polar bear. Imagine if we could get great power from something seemingly small and simple, like the ant. Car makers need to stop being distracted by inventing new carbo-tanium compounds to shave a few grams off an exhaust system; they need to make a drastic transformation in how we think about getting around. Instead of trying to start wars, create religions or get rich most living beings have spent epochs getting really, really good at what they do. Maybe it’s time we put all of our differences to one side, take a step back and got really, really good at what we do, because nature is showing us up. Having said that, we did create the Bugatti Veyron.