Daily Management Review

Your old mobiles can save rainforests


Topher White, CEO of Rainforest Connection, has come up with a brilliant solution which uses old cellphones, which ordinarily would be been trashed, to save entire rainforests.

In 2012, a small dedicated team of enthusiast from Borneo and from the US, have come up with a unique solution that not only stop deforestation but also stems the wastage of cellphones by recycling them.

Deforestation is a major source of emission of greenhouse gases which not only damage the ozone layer that surrounds the earth but is also the major factor for global warming and the effects of El-Nino that we are seeing today.

Emissions pf greenhouse gases on account of deforestation add up to more than the combined emissions of all of our ships, trains and automobiles worldwide. And as per Topher White, CEO of Rainforest Connection, an Environmental technologist, recycled old cell phone can help stop illegal logging which 90% of the time the primary cause of deforestation.

As per Mr. White, even if they are situated  at remote locations, out of the reach of human settlements and infrastructure, rainforests have a surprisingly strong cellphone reception signal. Mr. White disassembled old mobiles, which would normally land up in landfills as electronic waste, and engineered a method so as to tune them to be sensitive to a certain type of noise. The device then filters out all other noises but is sensitive and will pick up this user-entered filter. Mr. White used the noise of a typical chainsaw as the filter. This modified device can now track and monitor –illegal logging activities throughout the forest. Having detected such activities, it can even send an e-mail and alert pre-determined personnel, so that they can take all necessary timely action.

While Mr. White’s genius in recycling old cellphones not only stems the wastage of electronic junk which have a large carbon footprint, what is amazing is the fact that people all over the world have warmly opened up to this solution.

In a recent TED talk, Mr. White went about and recounted the warm and fascinating reactions that people, all over the world, have had to his recycled tech and its practical impact on the real world. Mid last year, Rainforest Connection had a strong following on Kickstarter and surpassed their targeted estimate by more than 60%. Riding from strength to strength, Mr. White’s creation has seen its technology been implemented in rainforests all over the globe, i.e., from Africa, Indonesia to the Amazon.

This inspiring story just goes to demonstrate that sustainable solutions to our self-created, man-made problems, lie within our reach. The solution to our problems just need varied creative approaches supported and supplemented by real life experiences and with the help of these, we can change and shape the world the way we want it.