Our "elusive" ingenuity is, has been, and always will be reliant on our access to abundant energy. Our "ingenuity" thus far has been to exploit relentlessly the stored solar energy in fossil fuels. We can not be geniuses without abundant energy and until we weird humans discover an energy source free from the constraints of thermodynamics, our potential, elusive genius will remain just that. Potential and elusive.
Perhaps you are forgetting that pre-human Australopithecus africanus dates back 3 million years and the oldest homo-sapiens is over 300,000 years old. Our ingenuity was lit up (couldn't resist it) when we started burning coal for industry less than 300 years ago and ingeniously (!) engineered a run-away population explosion when we turned fossil fuels to fertilizer in 1910.
Now it seems we need to rely on pixie dust, unicorns and our "weirdness" to goose our ingenuity to clean up this mess.