menu

Digital Activism in the Rainforest

Digital Activism in the Rainforest
technology

Brazilian indians use digital tools to preserve their traditions and the environment.

Mauricio Soares
  • 9 november 2009

Searching for home on Google Earth was the spark that cacique (chief) Almir Surui needed to embark his tribe, the Paiter Surui, in a digital activism odyssey. The place that Almir and his tribe call home is the 7 de Setembro indigenous reserve, an area of about 250 thousand hectares located amidst the states of Rondônia and Mato Grosso, in the Brazilian midwest.

The image he saw on the computer screen scared him. Despite all their efforts throughout the years against illegal wood extraction in the region, he noticed a huge brown spot where there should have been an untouched forest. This shocking experience, however, brought him a valuable insight: he had just stumbled upon a whole new world, one where he could pass on his people’s conscience and traditions to all those interested. In his own words, “That technology, which takes one from a place to another without moving, reduced days of walking to mere seconds. It was something different. It made me dream and plan actions”.

And dreams rapidly turned into actions. After getting in touch with the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) NGO, Almir decided he should go to San Francisco to try to talk directly to the people at Google. His ideas was to use the web to broadcast information to the rest of the world about the government’s neglect regarding the devastation of indigenous land and the Amazon rainforest.

It worked. The chief came back to Brazil having firmed a partnership with Google Earth Outreach, the philanthropic arm of the organization. The deal consisted of providing the tribe with computers, smartphones and GPS devices so that they could document and publish online their everyday life and their customs, as well as the deforestation process in loco and in real time.

Vasco van Roosmalen, director of ACT Brasil, emphasizes that the collaborative maps are also great tools for enhancing our knowledge about the Surui territory and customs. Through the markers uploaded by the tribe members, one can learn about their hunting and fishing habits, as well as their sacred places, thus helping to preserve their traditions.

With the aid of technology, the Surui people are now able to monitor what happens on their land and bring attention to their problems. For a group that had its first contact with the western society only forty years ago, that’s quite a leap.

Watch a video about the story below:

[via Estado]

image: Raimundo Pacco / UOL

technology
Trending

Bringing Food Innovation To America's Crowded Milk Market

Food
Culture Today

Artist Designs Covers For Books That Don’t Exist

Published by the fictional "Specious Books," the subversive works facilitate a conversation regarding the artistic integrity of graphic designers

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Financial Services Today

Device Makes Digital Currency Feel Tangible

The concept gadget wants you to experience the highs and lows of spending money

Advertising Today

Lyft Gives Free Rides To Those Who Have Had Too Much To Drink

Thanks to a new partnership between the ride sharing service and Budweiser, drunk passengers are able to receive free rides

Related Expert

Terry Rieser

Media Production

Design & Architecture Today

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

Augmented / Virtual Reality Today

NBC Is Planning To Stream The Presidential Debates In Virtual Reality

Partnering with AltspaceVR, the broadcaster offers another way for Americans to engage with the election season

Travel Today

What Happens When An Entire Airport Terminal Rebrands Itself?

JFK's Terminal 4 underwent a dramatic design facelift to guide and delight travelers

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed september 21, 2016

Creative Agency Founder: Using VR As A Race Relationship Tool

Maurice Bernstein, CEO and Founder of Giant Step, explores the value in transforming headsets from high-tech entertainment tools into empathy machines

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Home september 23, 2016

Watch This Fire Pit Dance Along To Your Favorite Song

Music City Fire is a system that is designed to flicker in time to ambient music

Automotive september 23, 2016

Slick GPS Navigator Gives Directions To Moped Riders

This small, round device attaches to a sideview mirror to display maps for safer traveling

Home september 23, 2016

A Clock That Beautifully Manages Your Information Overload

The wall-mounted timekeeper is made to help people maintain focus and stay up to date with their appointments

Arts & Culture september 23, 2016

Performance Piece Blends Dancers Into Folds Of Light

The work provides commentary on the increasing connection between programmed and analog dimensions

Design & Architecture september 23, 2016

Design Firm Adapts Childhood Homes For Unemployed Young Adults

The studio has unveiled three prototypes of transformed living spaces for people forced to move back in with their families

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Health september 23, 2016

These Chocolate Squares Claim To Reverse The Aging Process

A group of researchers from Cambridge University have developed a candy bar that promises to give you a youthful glow

Cities september 23, 2016

Food-Producing Architecture Competition Seeks To Better Feed Cities

A design challenge in Copenhagen highlights the need and beauty of urban farming

Health september 23, 2016

Wearable Monitors Sun Exposure To Prevent Sunburn

The clip monitors UV rays to make sure you're not receiving too much sunlight

No search results found.