Are Gamers this Generation’s Environmental Heroes?
One of the environmental movement’s largest obstacles when it comes to getting people involved is the lack of convenience. But now, this obstacle may be overcome. Tim Shields, a desert biologist who recently gave a TED Talk at UC Berkeley, may have found the perfect solution to our modern-day problem: drone technology. When most people first hear the word “drone” images of government agencies spying on people come to mind, but not all drones are used for evil.
In his TED Talk, Shields introduced us to his company Hardshell Labs, which is currently working towards creating environmental “games” aimed to protect tortoises whose populations have been rapidly declining. These games can be accessed by anyone with a smart phone or a computer, which is basically everyone in America these days. His basic concept is to make environmentalism “fun”, which is not a commonly used word when talking about environmental issues. By making environmental action accessible, even fun perhaps, we can involve a greater majority of the population.
Even beyond the realm of fun, drones are a crucial development in environmental justice, for they are capable of capturing viewpoints not usually available to scientists, juries, or the general public. In this way, environmental violations can be documented much more efficiently and reliably. Feedlots have been recorded dumping blood into waterways, the Sea Shepard’s Society has used drone technology to track down and record illegal whaling ships, and more recent efforts to try and stop the poaching of endangered animals such as rhinos utilize this technology. And the greatest part? You don’t even have to get out of your chair to bring environmental justice to our world.
It is certainly valid to say that our society as a whole has developed to make convenience a top priority; this means environmentalists need to, in a sense, cater to this new lifestyle. Drone technology, in this way, seems to be our best bet right now. While scientists lead the research on using drone technology for environmental purposes, it certainly will not be long until the average gamer, or average working person, will be able to save animals that are going extinct, or capture incriminating images of corporations violating environmental laws.