On the ground and in the cloud, the fight to save the Amazon
On the ground and in the cloud, the fight to save the Amazon
5:36

On the ground and in the cloud, the fight to save the Amazon

Science
It's remote and vast. The only people out there are the tribe and illegal loggers, hunters, miners. There's no police. [FOREIGN] Here's the first indigenous teeth ever to meet with Google Earth. He came to propose a partnership between Suomi people and Google. He said, you know about technology. We know about the forest. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] We're here in the top corner of the 7th of September territory, and the sate of Rondonia in Brazil. They have satellite images showing Illegal incursions into this area. I was interested in seeing what was happening with the deforestation of the Amazon and that's when I came across the Surui tribe that is doing work with technology to try and stop deforestation in its territory. It was kind of shocking because you kind of go from this kind of Deforested plains area into the jungle and suddenly it's like you're in the middle of nowhere. [FOREIGN] Once they made contact, They were exposed to all sorts of diseases, tuberculosis, influenza. [FOREIGN] Their tribe was greatly diminished down to 300 members. [SOUND] [FOREIGN] They weren't able to defend their entire territory, and he said to his father the time has come To put down the bow and arrow and to pick up the laptop as a tool for protecting their people, defending their land. He came across Google Earth and was shocked by what he saw. [FOREIGN] I first met Chief O'Near in June of 2007. At that time, there was $100,000 bounty on his head for mobilizing his people in resistance to the illegal logging invasions of his land. He had a realization that Google Earth could be a tool to understand the threats that they face You can even see in the satellite imagery areas where the land had been invaded. Some of these were areas that he didnt even know about. We have been doing this for many years, but we never had this information on a map. [FOREIGN] When the [FOREIGN] get this information from Google Earth they'll likely go to the area to see if they can get some really on the ground evidence of what's happening. While driving up there you pass a lot of trucks with logs on them and these are not government sanctioned shops. [SOUND] [SOUND] We're here with about 15 to 20 members of the [FOREIGN]. There aren't a lot of villages in this part of the territory so they want to make sure that stores aren't being cut down. Illegal minors aren't coming in. It's a strange feeling of you don't know who's out here. Anybody that you're gonna run into out there is probably not a good thing. They're probably not a friend. We did see evidence of people coming into the territory. We saw illegal roads that loggers have made. We saw illegal campsites. Throughout the night, I would hear these trucks rambling up and down the road. What's really needed in this kind of situation is a near real time alerting system that is Getting fresh imagery, fresh data, and can detect when changes happen and then sending an alert to people that may care about that.>>The idea is that they can see almost in real time what is happening in a certain area. We've built a platform we call Google Earth Engine. We have hundreds of feeds of satellite data and so on coming in. You can do massively parallel computation with thousands of computers on that data. For example where is the forest changing in the last 24 hours. It's also possible to see longer term change in a forest. Here, you can see how deforestation has encroached on the Surui Territory since 1984. [FOREIGN] [FOREIGN] He's a very strong leader, and he has profound insights about the role that technology could play in helping indigenous people. And he said Google if you can help us put ourselves on the map, then that will strengthen us. [FOREIGN] [FOREIGN] So that was actually the start of helping indigenous communities with mapping tools. [FOREIGN] And then also, doing a better job in our products reflecting territorial sovereignty of indigenous peoples [MUSIC] [FOREIGN] These are the People that are defending the rainforest which are the lungs of the planet for all of us.

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