Human Journey

Google Honors Conservation Heroes

Google recognized five “heroes” this week who use Google Earth software in their efforts to conserve wildlife, clean up pollution, and protect natural resources.

The winners, all nonprofits, used the mapping and geotagging software in innovative ways to educate people about their projects. The heroes program, in its first year, encourages groups and users to submit projects for future recognition.

Project Kaisei used Google Earth to track its boats’ voyage around a massive garbage patch that collects in the North Pacific. (Read more about the ocean trash and see pictures.)

Save the Elephants employs satellite collars and other technology to track African elephants in efforts to protect the rare animals. (Watch a video with Save the Elephants founder Iain Douglas-Hamilton).

Borneo Orangutan Survival maps out rain forests on the Indonesian island and takes advantage of Google Earth to show land that can be adopted to protect the rare apes’ habitat.

Chief Almir and the Surui tribe upload geotagged photos of illegal logging operations in the Amazon rain forest to raise awareness about the practice. Through Google Earth, the tribe is also educating the world about their culture and planning reforestation efforts.

Appalachian Voices relies on the software to raise awareness about mountaintop removal coal mining by showing users the destructive practice from the air. (Learn more about mountaintop removal mining).

Google will announce new heroes every quarter, so check back every once in a while to see how other groups are using Google Earth technology to spread their messages.

–James Robertson


Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

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