Saving The Earth With Old Mobile Phones

Saving The Earth With Old Mobile Phones
Old mobile phones. Image from shutterstock

From the title ‘Saving the Earth with old mobile phones’ we can talk about two things. First, the Earth and why it needs to be saved. Second, the old mobile phones and how it will be of service again. These are two completely different things that we thought can’t be connected and can’t have relationship with each other. But yes they can. Let us talk about each of them first separately.

With the constant upgrading of mobile phones nowadays, have you ever asked yourselves what happens to the old ones? Let us think about all those Nokia phones, Samsung, Motorola and many more which were the top notches in the market in the early 2000s.

350,000 Mobile Phones are Disposed Every Year

According to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) there are approximately 350,000 mobile phones disposed every year and that equates to more than 152 million phones thrown away in one year.

So imagine the wasteland full of these useless phone. Aside from the difficulty of disposing it, there are chances that it could pollute the soils and water near the wasteland where a large number of disposed phones are located. If it happens, it could harm the people living near the area.

Now let us talk about saving the Earth. We all know, and we are all aware of the greatest challenge the humankind is facing right now. That is, climate change. One of the main reasons for climate change is deforestation.

According to WWF, forests covers 31% of the earth. It helps clean the water and air by sinking the carbon dioxide level. But, our forests are already in great danger due to illegal loggers and poachers. Every year we are losing 18.7 million acres of forest, equivalent to 27 soccer fields every minute. It mostly happens to countries that has tropical rain forests because of its biodiversity.

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Not only that. Let us also take a look at the greatest species extinction crisis since the dinosaur times. Allowing these illegal loggers and poachers to enter the diverse environment of the forest gives them access to easily kill animals, and extinct species.

Contributing to Deforestation

Why are we talking about this? That is because there is this man who found out the use of old mobile phones in saving our forests, actually, the rain forests. His name is Topher White. He is the founder and CEO of Rainforest Connection.

He conceptualizes it in 2011 when he visited the rainforests in Borneo, Indonesia. He was volunteering in a wildlife sanctuary when he discovered that illegal loggers and poachers are difficult to catch because of the rich sound made by the wildlife present in the rainforest. There are birds chirping, gibbons singing, snakes hissing and many more that makes it impossible to hear the sound of chainsaws cutting the trees in the forest.

Topher White Video Tweet on his TED interview

Alarmed by the vexing and unending deforestation, he found a way to detect the sound of chainsaws by using the old phones that has microphones on it.

Using Old Phones to Detect Illegal Loggers and Poachers

So he innovated the old phone that has a powerful microphone in it, attached some solar panels to keep charged. The device was put in a box to keep it safe from the dangers of the rain forest.

How does it work? Well, we all know that cellphones are like small computers and it can do almost everything. If you ask about connection, well yes, there are connections even on the most remote villages. So when a chainsaw turns on and when the mobile phone detects it, it sends alert to the local authorities or to people who want to be involved in preserving the rainforests. What’s amazing about this is that, it can detect the perimeters where the illegal logging are happening, making it easier for the people to find and catch the illegal loggers and poachers.

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From 2011, Rainforest Connection was accepted and realized by many countries like Africa and Brazil. And since many believed about its advocacy and accuracy of the device, they had teamed up with SAP Cloud Analytics. It upgraded the device to detect illegal loggers and poachers in the forest even before they start.

A lot of recordings has already been made that also led them to the study of sounds that birds make when something is wrong. Aside from that, you could also listen to the beautiful sound of birds on their website . It could also trace illegal hunters from the sound of their gunshots and could also help from saving animals and species to extinction. It also enables researchers and scientist to study and understand the rain forest easier bio-acoustic monitoring capabilities. It let them see what their eyes cannot see.  It could also help from saving animals and species to extinction.

Saving The Earth With Old Mobile Phones

Since then, it has been used by many countries who are protecting their rain forests and also the natives living in the area. The organization has been featured to numerous press like National Geographic, Al Jazeera, Digital Trends, SXSW and Mashable. The organization is well supported by people who wished to help save their forest like volunteers, tribes and Native people. They make sure they collaborate even to the indigenous people living in the remaining rain forest because they know the place well. They also know how the rainforests behaves. They reach out to them because they are the possible target of the illegal loggers and poachers because their rain forests are still intact.

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Climate Change and Deforestation

Why is this important? That is because deforestation is one of the leading cause of the disasters happening around the world. Climate change is the biggest effect of deforestation. May we never forget the historic droughts that affect upwards of 20 million people in major cities in South America such as Sao Paulo which is directly related to the destruction of the Amazon rain forest.

So before you throw away your old phones, give life to it by sending it to the Rain Forest Connection to help save the rainforests. We sometimes think small actions doesn’t mean anything but the truth is, small actions by many people could make a big impact.


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