Old smartphones to fight deforestation

Dec 05, 2016 | written by:

They are always with us shielding photos, memories, phone numbers no longer remembered by heart, but also important personal docs. Who are they? Our smartphones! We change them on average every two years keeping up with the technology progress. They are one of the most popular gifts for Christmas and due to the fact that Christmas time is round the corner, maybe some new iPhone or Samsung are already under the Christmas tree. But what can we do with old phone? A great idea could be to send them to Topher Bianco, CEO of Rainforest Connection, a startup saving trees and forests with smartphones

Topher created a sort of miracle: he produced a real-time monitoring system to protect forests by illegal cut using a simple technology, low cost and readily available (only in the United States each year 150 million phones are thrown away. Old phones are reset, placed radial at the top of the trees in addition with some solar panels providing the necessary energy for their function. Taking advantage of the microphone they can monitor the situation up to 1km away: if nearby there is a chainsaw in action, a signal will transmit to a ranger the exact position so to intervene quickly.

Rainforest Connection’s tests began in Sumatra (Indonesia) and continued in Cameroon and Brazilian Amazonia. The next countries to be affected by the new technology will be Ecuador and Peru. But the interest generated is such that 20 other countries expect to be able to experience the Bianco method. In addition, National Geographic is promoting the use of sensors in the oceans to monitor illegal fishing boats.

The Topher’s idea might really change the fate of forests: they cover 30% of Earth's surface, but every two seconds are cut illegally a quantity of trees able to cover a football field. If the vegetation on Earth decreases, also the ability to absorb carbon dioxide decreases; if the deforestation increases, also greenhouse gases increase: nowadays they are about the 25% of the total gas produced annually. It becomes essential to turn down the number of trees cut and the emission of greenhouses, protecting in this way the biodiversity of the planet. 

If you do not have a smartphone to send to Rainforest Connection, you can help them by making a donation with Paypal.

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