Dervilla Mitchell

Are we all doomed?

Dervilla Mitchell
Engineer and board member of Arup

As an ardent optimist, I say no -- absolutely not! To say that we are doomed is to doubt our creative capacity and lose faith in mankind's ability to adapt. As an engineer, I see our collective role as that of a problem-solver.

Take public transport - an area where we can contribute to tackling climate change, oil dependence, resource depletion and health issues by increasing access and effectiveness. In London, many daily commutes have been transformed by the introduction of "Boris bikes". Transport for London's online travel information is invaluable in helping us deal with changing situations. Imagine how much better we might have responded to the snow last winter if we'd had UK-wide, real-time information on all transport modes.

I hope that we can help the developing world circumvent our mistakes, rather than follow in our footsteps. It is in our nature to innovate; coupling innovation with effective collaboration will make it happen.


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This article first appeared in the 06 June 2011 issue of the New Statesman, Are we all doomed?