Earlier this year, Neil Young successfully used the Kickstarter website to help fund his high-resolution audio player Pono, and now the folk-rock legend is lending his support to a new campaign on the site that seeks to use modern technology to help save the world's endangered rainforests.
The Rainforest Connection initiative involves retrofitting old smartphones with a solar-powered energy source and placing them in forests where illegal logging is taking place. The devices will be able to pick up the sounds of vehicles, chainsaws, distressed animals and other telltale signs of unlawful activity and thereby notify authorities of the location of the improprieties. In addition, the phones will provide valuable data to scientists by allowing them to track various endangered animals.
In a video promoting the campaign, Young says, "Climate change is the defining issue of the 21st century. There are a lot of factors, but forests are one of the big ones. There is a technology that is a connection between the rainforest and you. This technology enables the forest to talk to the world. When the forest is threatened the forest can speak, and you can hear it."
The Rainforest Connection's current Kickstarter initiative, which ends on Tuesday at 9:50 a.m. ET, already has surpassed its initial goal of $100,000 that will allow organizers to deploy devices in Africa. If the campaign ends up raising $165,000, devices will be able to be installed in Brazil's Amazon region, while $200,000 will allow for the initiative to expand into Indonesia.
Young has penned a letter to his fans who had backed the Pono project asking them to consider contributing $10 or more to the Rainforest Connection campaign. Those who do will receive a high-resolution download of rainforest sounds. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer also has donated 10 limited-edition Pono players to be used as gifts to donors who give generously to the initiative.
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