Natural Resources

Google Earth: Jungle Home Security System


When the Brazilian government fails to protect indigenous land rights, the Indians turn to Google instead:

Chief Almir Surui…says loggers and miners have already killed 11 Surui chiefs—Surui is both the common surname and name of the tribe—who tried to prevent them from entering their lands over the past five years, and he says Brazilian government officials have failed to stop the violence. So the 32-year-old indigenous leader, a stocky man who often dons a headdress made from feathers of Amazonian birds, opted for another route—an appeal to Google.

During his visit to the Bay Area late last month, Almir, the first Surui to graduate from college, asked the folks at Google Earth for high-quality satellite imagery that would allow the tribe to monitor loggers and miners, who have no legal right to operate on the tribe's 600,000-acre reserve about 1,600 miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro.

His plea fell on receptive ears with company officials in Mountain View, who are now at work on a plan to let the Surui use Google's technology to raise awareness of their plight by working with satellite providers to vastly improve image resolution.

NEXT: Banned for "Unremitting Bleakness"

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  1. Now, who’s going to try to find something negative to say about this development?

  2. Let me try:

    “Just another example of the mainstream liberal media celebrating attempts to thwart the progress of the timber and mining industries.”

  3. Oh that’s just great. Another camera invading my privacy. Oh well, at least those with nothing to hide, have nothing to fear. 🙂

  4. J sub D,

    How about a little cut and paste from the ED thread below?

    “Opposing it because it hurts poor people and minorities only furthers the misguided notion that poor people and minorities are somehow more worthy of protection from government abuse because they work harder, are less appreciated, encounter more discrimination, etc.”

    Harrumph. You don’t see Google Earth going out of their way to provide middle-class Americans with especially high-res images.

  5. I’ve obviously underestimated the ability of y’all to rise to a challenge. Cue Emily Littela “Never Mind”.

  6. Once Google Death Ray comes online… watch out!

  7. joe,

    I hear you. I just Google mapped my home and the resolution is just — HEY! YOU KIDS GET OFF OF MY LAWN!

    Sorry about that.

  8. Once Google Death Ray comes online… watch out!

    Unless, of course, some group of young college-aged geniuses compromises the system and causes this to happen!

  9. Now, who’s going to try to find something negative to say about this development?

    Just wait until Google data-mines those Surui searches and they start getting spammed with foreign knock-off feather headdress pop-up ads!

  10. They should be careful. If those loggers and miners have a cat in the window, they could bring some legal action.

  11. The loggers killed 11 chiefs? And none has found a couple poison blow darts in his ass?
    Guess they are waiting for Uncle Sam, the World’s Policeman, to defend them.

  12. Actually Google Earth is a environmentalist ploy to manipulate people into planting more trees in their backyards.

  13. Loss of rainforest has more climatic impact than automobiles. GOgoogle.

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