Thursday, June 05, 2008

'Mobile Phone Technology for Environmental Activism'

'Mobile Phone Technology for Environmental Activism'
by Juliana Rotich

Mobile phones are becoming an important tool for environmental activists around the world. Activists are developing new technological strategies in order to do things like educate consumers about the impact of purchasing decisions, monitor wildlife and polution levels, and advocate for the protection of forests.

A report from the United Nations Foundation and The Vodafone Group Foundation Technology Partnership published in April describes the many different ways mobile phones are used for social change around the world. It's called "Wireless Technology for Social Change: Trends in Mobile Use by NGOs" [PDF].

Below, I have listed the environmental initiatives highlighted by its writers, Sheila Kinkade (ShareIdea.org) and Katrin Verclas (MobileActive.org). I have also listed some new projects that have appeared since then.


Using mobile phones, Greenpeace in Argentina were able to rally supporters and effectively pass Argentina's first federal forest protection law. The MobileActive blog wrote of their tree saving efforts earlier this month:

Mobile phones are nothing new for Greenpeace Argentina. The organization has used mobile phones multiple times to mobilize its now 350,000 person-strong mobile list to successfully lobby for important environmental legislation. One of Greenpeace's significant accomplishments was the passage of the Ley de Bosques, or Forest Law.

According to the Wireless Technology for Social Change report, GreenPeace accomplished this by building a large database containing both email addresses and mobile phone numbers of the people who signed a petition supporting the Forest Law. In addition, they sent out text message alerts during critical hearings, and before city council votes. They also coordinated demonstrations and meetings using text messages.


In Ghana, one project has shown that mobile phones can be transformed from typical pervasive tool for communication, to a 'super sensing' tool for environmental data collection. This is achieved by attaching a special sensor to a mobile phone. The sensor collects scientific information on air quality or even urban traffic patterns, which can be studied later and even layered over a google map.

Corinne Ramey wrote about this initiative on the MobileActive blog in April:

In the Accra study, seven taxi drivers were provided with a dash-mounted global positioning system (GPS) device and a tube to hang from their passenger window. The tube contained a carbon monoxide sensor. Similarly, three students were each given a mobile clip sensor pack containing a GPS device, and a carbon monoxide sensor. The taxi drivers and students were asked to carry their sensors as much as possible during their normal everyday activities. Throughout the day, the sensing system automatically logged sensor data. At the end of each day, the pilot participants dropped off their sensor packs at a central location where the data was then extracted and the sensors recharged. resulted from the participatory data collection A heat-map visualization of carbon monoxide readings across Accra, Ghana rendered atop Google Earth. Colors represent individual intensity reading of carbon monoxide during a single 24-hour period across the city. Red circles are locations where actual re
 adings were taken.


The Wirelesss Technology for Social Change report describes the tension in  Laikipia district, Kenya, between landowners and wildlife. Farmers have been killed by wildlife, and their crops being destroyed. Elephants and other animals are being killed. A conflict prevention program that utilizes mobile phone technology, enables communication between the local community, wildlife service personnel, and land owners.

The pilot utilized 'Push to Talk on Cellular (Phones)' (PoC) technology, which combines the functionality of a walkie-talkie or two-way radio with a mobile phone. PoC enables communication between two individuals, or a group of people, and is particularly useful in connecting a user
group intermittently over a period of time (e.g., a working day).

South Africa, United Kingdom

FishMS is an SMS-based service from The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative that provides the status of global fish stocks to consumers. Users text the name of a fish they are considering buying to +44 (0) 79 499 8795, and are immediately advised as to whether the fish was sustainably harvested, or whether they should think twice before buying it. The following video shows the tool in action (the short film was shot on a mobile phone - Nokia N93).

United Kingdom, United States

AirText is a system that sends an SMS message, voicemail or email containing information about pollution levels in a specific borough of London. The service is aimed at people who suffer from heart and breathing problems. Similar services exist for specific locations in the United States, including Ergo (various zip codes) and ADEQ (in Arizona).

People who would like to know how much their personal greenhouse gas emissions amount to, can download an application mobGas to their phone, that allows them to report on their daily activities, like cooking, watching television or driving.

From the Wirelesss Technology for Social Change report report:

By helping users make connections between their daily activities and greenhouse gas emissions, mobGAS hopes to encourage individuals to make lifestyle changes. The application also offers tips on how to modify activities to decrease emissions.

A similar project, highlighted by Josh Catone on Read Write Web blog  is called FuelFrog. It's an application that uses Twitter to help track fuel consumption by users:

FuelFrog is exceedingly simple, and immensely useful. After each fill up, users enter their miles traveled since the last fill, the price paid, and the amount of gasoline in gallons. Over time, FuelFrog will track and graph your fuel consumption data so you can do things like identify trends in gas prices in your area, see how fuel efficient your car is (is it time to put air in the tires, perhaps?), how much you're driving, and how much you're spending.

Global Voices Environment thank MobileActive and Shareideas for the report, and would be interested in reader's input on other examples of mobile phones being used for environmental activism.   
Also see our recent post on Global Voices highlighting the use of web2.0 technologies for environmental activism

Rodrigo González Fernández
Diplomado en RSE de la ONU
oficina: Renato Sánchez 3586 of. 10
Telefono: 5839786 – 2084334
e-mail: rogofe47@mi.cl
Santiago- Chile
Soliciten nuestros cursos de capacitación  y consultoría en RESPONSABILIDAD SOCIAL EMPRESARIAL – LOBBY – BIOCOMBUSTIBLES    y asesorías a nivel internacional y están disponibles  para OTEC Y OTIC en Chile

NEW YORK TIMES Clinton Ready to End Bid and Endorse Obama

Clinton Ready to End Bid and Endorse Obama


James Estrin/The New York Times

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton at a rally in New York on Tuesday.

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Published: June 5, 2008

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will endorse Senator Barack Obamaon Saturday, bringing a close to her 17-month campaign for the White House, aides said. Her decision came after Democrats urged her Wednesday to leave the race and allow the party to coalesce around Mr. Obama.


Where the Candidates Found SupportGraphic

Where the Candidates Found Support


For Clinton, a Key Group Didn't Hold (June 5, 2008)

Many Blacks Find Joy in Unexpected Breakthrough (June 5, 2008)

Obama Offers Assurances at Pro-Israel Meeting (June 5, 2008)

The Caucus: For Clinton's Women Fans, Mourning and Anger (June 4, 2008)

Times Topics: Hillary Rodham ClintonTimes Topics: Barack Obama


The Caucus

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Senator Barack Obama, now the prospective Democratic nominee, outside the Capitol on Wednesday. He told reporters that he and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton were "going to have a conversation in the coming weeks."

Howard Wolfson, one of Mrs. Clinton's chief strategists, and other aides said she would express support for Mr. Obama and party unity at an event in Washington that day. One adviser said Mrs. Clinton would concede defeat, congratulate Mr. Obama and proclaim him the party's nominee, while pledging to do what was needed to assure his victory in November.

Her decision came after a day of conversations with supporters on Capitol Hill about her future now that Mr. Obama had clinched the nomination. Mrs. Clinton had, in a speech after Tuesday night's primaries, suggested she wanted to wait before deciding about her future, but in conversations Wednesday, her aides said, she was urged to step aside.

"We pledged to support her to the end," RepresentativeCharles B. Rangel, a New York Democrat who has been a patron of Mrs. Clinton since she first ran for the Senate, said in an interview. "Our problem is not being able to determine when the hell the end is."

Mrs. Clinton's decision came as some of her most prominent supporters — including former Vice PresidentWalter F. Mondale — announced they were now backing Mr. Obama. "I was for Hillary — I wasn't against Obama, who I think is very talented," Mr. Mondale said. "I'm glad we made a decision and I hope we can unite our party and move forward."

One of Mrs. Clinton's aides said they were told that except for her senior advisers, there was no reason to report to work after Friday, and that they were invited to Mrs. Clinton's house for a farewell celebration. The announcement from Mrs. Clinton was moved to Saturday to accommodate more supporters who wanted to attend, aides said.

"Senator Clinton will be hosting an event in Washington, D.C., to thank her supporters and express her support for Senator Obama and party unity," Mr. Wolfson said.

Mr. Obama, not waiting for a formal concession from Mrs. Clinton, announced a three-member vice-presidential selection committee that will include Caroline Kennedy, who has become a close personal adviser since endorsing him four months ago.

With some Democrats promoting Mrs. Clinton as Mr. Obama's No. 2, his aides said they would move slowly in the search, allowing passions from the bruising primary battles to cool.

"Now that the interfamily squabble is done," Mr. Obama said Wednesday evening at a Manhattan fund-raiser, "all of us can focus on what needs to be done in November." Earlier Wednesday, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton crossed paths briefly in Washington. As he left the Capitol, Mr. Obama told reporters, "We're going to have a conversation in the coming weeks."

Mr. Obama appeared before theAmerican Israel Public Affairs Committee, where, tacking to the right, he described a far tougher series of sanctions he would be willing to impose on Iran than he had outlined heretofore.

Mrs. Clinton, in a later appearance before the group, moved to reassure an audience clearly nervous about Mr. Obama's views on Israeli security. "I know that Senator Obama will be a good friend to Israel," she said.

Turning to the general election, Senator John McCain of Arizona, Mr. Obama's likely opponent, and Mr. Obama both said they were interested in holding a series of debates this summer.

Aides to Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton said that at least some of Mrs. Clinton's fund-raisers would move to join the Obama campaign. Still, with the realization of defeat still settling in, it appeared that most of her major financial backers were holding back until they got a clearer signal from Mrs. Clinton of her intentions.

"I'm being aggressively courted by folks in the Obama campaign," said Mark Aronchick, a Philadelphia lawyer, who is a national finance co-chairman. "I've told them all, 'Everybody relax. Take a deep breath. There's time enough here.' "

On Thursday, Mr. Obama planned to head to the southwestern tip of Virginia, in Appalachia, to begin courting voters in a state that traditionally goes Republican but could be a battleground in the fall. Then, he intends to take a few days to strategize privately about the general-election campaign.

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Rodrigo González Fernández
Diplomado en RSE de la ONU
oficina: Renato Sánchez 3586 of. 10
Telefono: 5839786 – 2084334
e-mail: rogofe47@mi.cl
Santiago- Chile
Soliciten nuestros cursos de capacitación  y consultoría en RESPONSABILIDAD SOCIAL EMPRESARIAL – LOBBY – BIOCOMBUSTIBLES    y asesorías a nivel internacional y están disponibles  para OTEC Y OTIC en Chile