At the end of the last Protons for Breakfast presentation, TedX at Teddington pioneer Ed Hui handed me a piece of carefully folded paper, and with a self-mocking smile announced that this was the solution to Global Warming!
Of course there is no ‘solution to Global Warming’ – it is something we have to live with along with all its uncertainties. But there are a myriad ways to respond to the threat and generally behave smartly. If we imagine that there a thousand smart things to do, then Ed’s folded paper could well be a milliSolution – to use the SI units of problem solving.
How does a piece of folded paper solve anything? Well a sheet of paper is not enormously strong, but if folded correctly and sandwiched in between two other sheets it creates a shockingly light and rigid sheet
Sadly Ed was not the first to discover this. If you buy a Lack coffee table from Ikea for £7.14 and cut it open – which frankly you can afford to do at that price – you will find that the inside is made of corrugated paper! And if you venture into my laboratory and cut open my optical table – which frankly at £6000 you cannot afford to do – you will find a similar structure (actually a honey comb) made out of thin metal foil sandwiched between two metal plates. In each case companies have minimised cost and weight and maximised rigidity by thinking smart. And maybe Ed’s cleverly folded paper will inspire them to a new iteration of their designs. I hope so, because we could all benefit from a great deal of smarter thinking when it comes to Global Warming.