August 5, 2014

A Kickstart Against Loggers

Kickstarter RainforestA call by the Rainforest Connection was made recently to stop illegal loggers in their tracks, and generous individuals have answered with phones and their wallets. We wrote about the organization in a prior post, and we’re proud to announce that this amazing project has been fully funded via Kickstarter.

Thanks to the contributions of thousands of backers, upcycled Android smartphones will soon be placed in rainforests. Through the Rainforest Connection and the Zoological Society of London, the Kickstarter campaign successfully met its goal of raising over $100,000 on July 29 to finance the undertaking.

The premise is simple enough–take the smartphones and place them in rainforest trees to detect the sound of chainsaws by the illegal loggers. A signal is then sent and relayed as a real-time alert to an agent on the ground who then intercepts the loggers.

“We think this could be a critical new tool for protecting large areas of the rainforest,” Chris Ransom of the Zoological Society of London said.

According to the Kickstarter page, the donations in the short-term will allow for the purchase of the hardware and to complete up to two separate pilot programs.

Long-term, even more impact will be made. If the monetary goal is exceeded, the duo stated, “We can begin to cover large areas in Latin America and Asia, upgrade the software analytics, and create real-time data flows that allow open source developers to take the app to the next level.”

In addition, Rainforest Connection and the Zoological Society of London hope to gain enough funding to create a mobile application so anyone can tune into the noises of the rainforest and illegal logging.

We are thrilled to see the Kickstarter campaign get such great support and e-waste finding such a productive use. Even though the Kickstarter is over, pledges are still being accepted! Check out the Kickstarter page to continue to assist in this worthwhile cause.