Saving the Rainforest with Old Cellphones

Posted on April 4, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Rainforests have some of the most complicated soundscapes on the planet. In this dense noise of insects, primates, birds, and everything else that moves in the forest, how can you detect the sounds of illegal logging?

The old cellphone you have sitting in your desk drawer may have the answer.

Topher White installing Rainforest Connection an invention that is saving the rainforest with old cell phones
Source: RAINFOREST CONNECTION

How do you go about saving the rainforest with old cell phones?

After a visit to the rainforests of Borneo, physicist and engineer Topher White was struck by the sounds of the forest. In particular, he noises he couldn’t hear.

While on a walk, White and others came across an illegal logger sawing down a tree just a few hundred meters away from a ranger station.

This incident set White thinking that perhaps the best way to save the Earth’s precious rainforest is to listen for its loggers and poachers. The innovation he came up with, Rainforest Connection, uses old cellphones to help to save the planet in a big way.

Here is Topher White on the National Geographic Live stage…

Becoming empowered to make a difference…

It’s hard to feel like our actions have an impact in solving a problem like deforestation. We can choose to change our spending habits to stop the economic support of deforestation, but this doesn’t necessarily have an impact at the root of the problem.

We can, though, choose to support projects like Rainforest Connection!

If you have an old cellphone you want to give a second life saving the rainforest, you can send it to Rainforest Connection, and if the device doesn’t work for their needs, the donation will still go to supporting the project. You can check out how you can get involved with this project over on the Rainforest Connection website.

Perhaps it is time to change the narrative about saving the planet. We need to feel empowered and the more we understand how our small actions can have an enormous impact, the more we engage others to do the same.

For those that want to see an incredible example of our collective choices empowering us to make a difference, check out our article on SeaWorld’s decision to end its killer whale breeding programs and captivity!

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Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

Liesl can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV