This is a book based on a very unusual premise – imagine if the eight billion people on earth could be combined to create one giant being – a mega human. Enter the smooshing machine which squishes together the people of the world (conveniently for this purpose made of plasticine) to make a giant human. This device is intended as a way of understanding the scale of our species – other living things are put into the smooshing machine too, creating for example a mega tiger which would be big enough to leap over the Taj Mahal. The aim is to understand our scale in relation to all life on earth and to explore our impact. Comparisons are made – so if all endangered animals were fitted together, they would only be as big as one mega human thumb.
The concept is extended with all life on Earth (referred to as ALOE) put into the smooshing machine compared to the human made world – now more massive than the living one.
The writers highlight the devastating effect of human action including our obsession with fast food such as burgers, the resulting food waste and land clearance involved in its production.
A big challenge is presented to the mega human and of course to the reader, how can we fix the mega mess we are in? What if we treated the planet with care, cleared the oceans of plastic and found new ways to make power.
There are references to research throughout the book with lots of key data and fun facts, for example a mega human would be 8 billion times heavier than the average human and 2000 times taller and all the people on earth would fit into Greater London. For those intrigued to find out more about the data behind the book there is a website to refer to (thebiggestfootprint.com).
The design is clear, colourful and varied with charts and illustrations, often amusing images to bring home important messages.
This is a first collaboration from brothers Rob and Tom Sears likely to capture the imagination of many young readers and contribute to the conversation about human responsibility for our planet and life on Earth.