In an effort to provide real-time mapping of Sumatra’s rainforest, Google Earth Outreach awarded the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) and Eyes on the Forest a grant to provide the global community with an accurate visual representation of deforestation. This mapping project is the first of its kind in Sumatra. It brings the struggles faced by wildlife and the environment into the homes of every person on the planet with a computer.
WWF has been working on behalf of wildlife since 1961. In 2012, its membership has grown to approximately 5 million participants worldwide. WWF utilizes science-based solutions to resolve numerous conflicts to planetary stability with a focus on the necessity for animal and habitat diversity.
The goal of this mapping tool is to raise awareness about the complications that derive from deforestation, affording people the ability to evolve their largely passive knowledge into actionable outcomes. This tool allows people to reach back in time to the 1980’s and compare the changes to the rainforest terrain, visualize carbon dioxide (CO2) buildup, and understand how animal populations decline with habitat loss.
Sumatra, an Indonesian island, is the only place in the world where rhinoceros, orangutans, elephants, leopards, pythons, bears, and tigers coexist. In 2008, the Indonesian government stated at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) World Conservation Congress that it was committed to reducing deforestation in an effort to protect nature and aid in the planetary reduction of negative CO2 levels. To meet this commitment the government passed the Freedom of Information Act to allow the global public access to its environmental information. The creation of this mapping tool fills the piece of information previously missing to complete the objective. The government’s hope is that this information will show everybody the true affect environmental destruction has on the region and subsequently to the planet. The more people are made aware of the realities of deforestation the more likely people are going to pressure global decision makers to conduct themselves with a higher degree of care.
Google Earth Outreach is responsible for setting up numerous grants to protect the environment and its animal inhabitants, from the conservation of the Appalachian Mountains all the way to WaterAid. These projects are done with great hopes for more global participation in the freedom of information movement. Knowledge is the key to conservation. It is what connects us to the past, allows us to live in the present, and maps out our future.
For those who are interested, sign the Stop Planetary Deforestation Initiative.
Sumatra Map: Eyes on the Forest