Rainforest Protection – with Used Cell Phones

July 24, 2014

These folks have a Kickstarter campaign, that runs thru next week. If you have already helped out with Dark Snow Project, and have some extra enthusiasm, check this out.

Rainforest Connection:

Rainforest Connection (RFCx) transforms recycled cell-phones into autonomous, solar-powered listening devices that can monitor and pinpoint chainsaw activity at great distance.

This changes the game by providing the world’s first real-time logging detection system, pinpointing deforestation activity as it occurs, and providing the data openly, freely, and immediately to anyone around the world.

For the first time on a scalable level, responsible agents can arrive on the scene in time to interrupt the perpetrators and stop the damage, and the world can listen in as it occurs.


12 Responses to “Rainforest Protection – with Used Cell Phones”

  1. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Brilliant idea, but going to need an awful lot of them!

    Drones are the future – I just got one and have found a new and absorbing hobby.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Ditto on Andy’s comment—a great idea—but I hope they camouflage the PV panels well. Otherwise the bad guys will have a shooter with a shotgun going around “dismantling” them. And I wonder if the good guys can respond quickly enough to that or even to the logging. What happens if the bad guys chop down a bunch of trees quickly and scoot for a while? Do the good guys guard the downed trees forever waiting for them to come back?

    “Responsible agent CAN arrive….” Yes, but will they? Has that part of the plan been set up?

  3. jimbills Says:

    Using the fruits of industrial society to protect against industrial society. As we’re slapping old cell phones on trees, we’re clearing forests to mine for new cell phone components, clearing forests to plant palm and corn for ethanol to ship those raw materials, components, and phones, clearing forests for the energy (biomass) to charge those phones, and clearing forests for the packing materials of those phones.

    But who knows, maybe it will work. Of course, to get enforcement out to these areas, we’ll have to clear cut roads into the forests to reach them. It’ll help us nab a handful of the ‘little guys’ in deforestation. The big guys all have governmental approval:

    In the meantime, we’ll feel good about how we’re helping with our used phones.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Isn’t feeling good what it’s all about? The power of positive thinking and bright-sidedness and all that? May the Gods help us if we ever become truly rational and objective.

      • jimbills Says:

        I’ve looked this one up, and the big environmentalist organizations are touting it:


        This is all well and fine – it probably will help stop some of the small fries cutting down a few trees – subsistence farmers, the smaller logging industries that don’t have governmental sanction, and individuals searching for a few bucks or their own heating. So, it will help.

        But the irony on this is so thick, and I wonder if others are completely blind to it. We in the West want to believe we’re helping, when in fact the items we’re using to help, and the economy backing it up, are the MAIN cause of the deforestation. So, it’s also a comfortable narrative for us – the story of high tech coming to the rescue, when a lot of the problem is caused (or at least enabled) by high tech. It’s just another case of our delusions blinding us from the root problems, and convincing us to continue support the status quo, maintaining those root problems.

        Go out and buy a new cell phone, so you can give yours to help stop deforestation. Doesn’t anyone else see that?

        There’s a scene in ‘Weeds’, where Mary-Louise Parker’s character goes out on a shopping spree. She buys a ton of jewelry and clothing and while she’s out she also buys a Prius, because she’s concerned about global warming. The obviousness of how one action easily cancels out the other is completely lost on the character, and I think it’s pretty revealing towards our attitudes in the West today. We just want our conscience salved as we ramp up our own destructive habits.

        • jimbills Says:

          A few more links, because deforestation is an important subject – not just for climate change, but for also loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, and reduced groundwater levels.

          The primary driver today of deforestation is big business:

          “Deforestation today is mostly “enterprise driven”— that is, carried out by businesses looking to put land into commercial production for urban and export markets. This pattern stands in sharp contrast to earlier decades, when forest destruction tended to be “state-driven,” with governments encouraging the colonization of tropical forest regions by small farmers.”

          Many of these businesses can afford to bribe officials, receive governmental sanction, bury the paper trail from illegal deforestation, and/or absorb fines and penalties from illegal logging and clear cutting. Cattle ranching is the primary cause of deforestation in the Amazon, lumber if of course a main reason for deforestation, while palm oil, soybeans, and corn also share a heavy burden.

          Not all deforestation is illegal, and it’s unclear exactly what percentage is legal vs. illegal. There are estimates:

        • jimbills Says:

          I do commend these guys for what they’re doing. They’re trying. However, they’re overselling their approach by saying they’ll stop it, and it’s amazing to me that someone would think that expanding industrial society’s reach will really help contain it.

          While policing will of course slow illegal logging, it won’t stop it. What we’re doing is relentlessly expanding the global economy into the few remaining areas that are new to it – and often these are the larger, wilder expanses of forests. Building roads and pathways for that policing and expanding telecommunication networks helps drive these incursions:

          As the global economy increases its reach, people at the fringes of the economy often find themselves in a constant struggle to find a place in that economy. A lot of illegal logging is driven by individuals trying to make a few bucks in the new (to them) economy. They want those cell phones and cars, but they can’t afford them without cash.

          Those in the advanced economies just want cheap and plentiful goods, and much of this comes from raw materials gathered illegally and legally in the few remaining areas available for rampant exploitation.

          Nike = deforestation:

          This is the vicious cycle of economic expansion, which brings us cell phones and computers, but also brings greater and greater environmental destruction.

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