When we talk about gadgets helping the environment, it's usually be talking about how they're hurting less...rather than helping more. After all, most gadgets are designed to make our lives easier, not to make the environment healthier.
But that is not always the case. When $300 million dollars of ecologically sensitive prime real estate in Tennessee came up for sale recently, The Nature Conservancy was faced with a dilemma. There was no way they could protect all 230,000 acres of land, but they couldn't let those rolling hills of Appalachia get paved.
So they enlisted the help of 150 years of data and a computer model to sort it all out. The model incorporates data on 644 target species on land, in the air, in the water, and even in caves. The data are weighted by preferred habitats, recency of sightings, and species most at risk. The computer model then spat out of series of maps that were then used to select the most vital areas for conservation.
Obviously, it would be best if conservation organizations could protect all of this land, but using the computer model, The Nature Conservancy was able to determine what areas of the sale were most worth acquiring. In the end, only 12,000 acres needed to be protected. And without that handy computer model, the Conservancy and the Government of Tennessee would have had no idea how to go about properly protecting the land.
Three Cheers for Computers!
Via The Nature Conservancy
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