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The San Francisco Chronicle has recently reported that an Amazonian tribe known as the Surui can now Google themselves! They live in a small village about 1,600 miles northwest of Rio and have not as yet given up their bows and arrows but they can now add an internet connection, video cameras and GPS devices to their list of essential tools for their survival.
Google Earth has made this possible with the good intent of helping the Surui protect the 600,000 acre reserve through their tracking devices from illegal miners and loggers. The Chief of the tribe, Almir Surui, has said,
"All the information is shedding light on the invasion of our land…and giving our people the responsibility for their own future."
How did this come about? Well, it turns out that the Surui chief is the first person from his tribe to graduate from college and last year he met with important people at Google Earth, which is located in Mountain View, CA to entice them to provide the tribe with high-quality satellite equipment allowing them to moniter the loggers. It will also provide a chance for them to raise awareness of the destruction of the rain forests on a global scale.
Back in the 70s the Amazon rain forests began to make international news headlines when it came to light that loggers were cutting down so many trees that the very survival of the forests became threatened. At some point the Brazilian government finally placed restrictions on the loggers which made logging largely illegal but government resources were inadequate to enforce the protection needed to ensure the rights of indigenous people who lived there.
The Surui tribe got attention in 1969- the same time that construction of the 2,000 mile highway was built through it. (Trans-Amazon Highway) Since that time they have been fighting the invasions which have imposed a myriad of problems for this area, both ecologically and health-wise.
Now that the tribe has access to satellite imagers, videos and photos they can fight back with concrete evidence to stop the devastation before it occurs rather than dealing with damage done, later. At some point 17,300 acres of rain forest were reforested (replanted) after a massive explosion of logging took place- so the threat is very real.
Today it’s now possible to stop such destruction through the use of GPS devices, laptop computers and satellite maps which recently helped the Surui spot several miners and sent out guards to protect the tribal borders. These were supplied by the Amazon Conservation Team which operates out of Arlington, VA. Google Earth Outreach was responsible for supplying the satellite imagery equipment and conducting courses, on site, for the tribe to learn how to use all their new equipment.
for a job well done !
The Castle Lady, keeping you abreast of
all the good news as always !