Conservation is important but can sometimes be a bit, well…boring.
Poaching legislation, environmental regulation, political lobbying, green belts, planting trees, using less water, beach clean-ups… We know what these are and why they are critically important however they can often be seen as lacking creativity and engagement; they are probably not the topic of conversation around your dinner table!
But, the good news is that there are a number of companies that are changing our approach to conservation. And… they are seriously interesting.
1) Beehives & elephants
A company called Elephants & Bees has created a fence that diverts elephants from raiding the crops of small scale farmers. A cheap fence is erected which shakes strategically placed beehives when elephants trigger it. The bees respond by stinging the elephants who don’t forget the experience. Around 80% of the time the fence successfully protects the farmers’ crops and dramatically reduces human-elephant conflict. It also provides an additional source of income for farmers (honey) and supports struggling bee colonies (which are critical for pollination).
2) Lionfish robot
RSE technology are creating a robot which is able to capture invasive Lionfish on Coral Reefs. Lionfish were accidentally introduced over 25 years ago, and have no natural predators in the Western Atlantic. A voracious predator, one lionfish can reduce the fish biomass on a reef by 80 percent in just one month. It is now considered by marine biologists as a top threat to the Atlantic marine ecosystem along with climate change and ocean acidification. The robot will be simple enough to be operated by locals and biologists alike.
3) Old mobile phones
A charity called Rainforest Connection is using old mobile phones to prevent illegal logging in the Amazon. The smart phones are connected to an extra antenna and fixed to trees listening out for logging activity. The high-powered microphones can pick up chainsaw sounds miles away and, when detected, forest rangers can travel to the location and confront the loggers. So, you no longer have to feel so guilty about that new phone upgrade!
These solutions are just a small sample of some of the amazing things both start-ups and charities are doing to help protect the planet.