According to many researchers, we are in the midst of a sixth extinction wave, where we are either taking drastic steps to save the planet (or rather ourselves), or we are about to pass the point of no return.
Instead of draining more and more land, we should focus on preserving biodiversity, which can mitigate the effects of climate change, but without it we could essentially be saying goodbye to everything from drinking water to food that makes our lives comfortable and livable. Moreover, climate change caused by human activity threatens the survival of thousands of species.
David Wolter, a designer at the Umeå Design Institute, imagined what the world would look like in 2090, when habitable landscapes are almost completely gone due to desertification, and people desperately trying to save what they can. The Terra Nova flying machine, Wolter said, would provide a way of transporting people and cargo across barren lands without impacting the environment. He says that if the stakes of our dystopian future are so extreme, the role of biodiversity restoration efforts will depend more or less on mobility. The machine is designed to play a key role in slowing desertification and, through cutting-edge technologies, helping to replant forests. The plane is solar-powered and made from biodegradable materials to minimise its environmental impact.
The machine transports cargo and people from one station to another, and also has alternative docking capability – it can autonomously plant, manage water management and organic pesticide control, and modify its passenger compartment depending on whether it is carrying people or luggage. The vehicle will be operational for four days, after which Terra Nova drones will bring the necessary equipment to revitalise the desertified landscape until the mothership is recharged. According to its inventor, Terra Nova’s multifunctionality will make it one of many efforts that humanity must make to save the planet.