MacBook Air Used By Tribe in the Amazon Rainforest



This is one Mac setup you don’t see every day. Deep in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest, Chief Almir can be seen surfing the internet on his 11.6 inch MacBook Air. He leads the Suri people of Brazil, and he helps his tribe utilize technology to protect the Amazon from extinction.

OS X Daily passes on this fascinating story from FastCompany’s ‘Most Creative People in Business 2011’ list. Chief Almir has partnered with Google in an attempt to use YouTube, smartphones, and Google Earth to fight against the illegal logging of his tribe’s land. In an effort to maintain the tribe’s ‘traditional’ way of life, Google has partnered with the villagers to help equip them with the tools to report those that exploit the Amazon’s natural resources.

“For a man whose way of life has been threatened by modernity, activist and tribal leader Chief Almir of the Surui people of the Brazilian Amazon has looked to a surprising source to help his tribe maintain its traditional way of life: Google. In 1969, shortly before Almir was born, the tribe had its first contact with outsiders, who brought disease, violence, and death with them. Then loggers arrived, laying waste to the Surui’s homeland. Chief Almir decided survival depended on outreach.”

Since 2007, Google has been working with the Suri people to create a crowd-sourced “cultural map.” Territorial boundaries have been clearly marked out with tools like Google Earth, and tribe members can take and upload pictures of the illegal activity in the rainforest for the authorities to see. That way, officials cannot claim ignorance.

Besides the fact that technology is being used for good in the depths of the Amazon Rainforest, it’s interesting to see that the MacBook Air has made its way into such a rural environment. In terms of industrial design, this is proof that the MacBook Air can withstand the humidity and high temperatures of even the Amazon jungle.