Save the forests: real solutions to textbook problems

Topher_White_TEDLet’s face it, we have been concerned about deforestation at some point of our lives. 

“Ok class, today we will be discussing deforestation. Deforestation has brought about negative impacts to the environment. It is important for you to memorize at least 2 out of the 3 impacts so that you can score these marks!”

Yes, we are all concerned about the marks we could score on a quiz, and would frantically memorize and pull all nighters to get an A!

Now, don’t get me wrong. Education has taught us the values of perseverance, persistence and hard work, and I am especially appreciative of that, but I do feel we could do so much more.

Take Topher White for example. 

Starting off his presentation, he begins by enticing the audience with the mellifluous sounds of the rainforest. It is really interesting how he is able to distinguish between the different sounds that a rainforest can makle, and quite a sneaky move too!
Successfully entranced, everyone does a double-take when he suddenly turns down the volume, leaving the sound of logging, which had been drowned out previously. 

Like a superhero, he then shares a simple yet effective technological solution he invented to deforestation: a system made of old cell phones; solar panels made of discarded items; and dedicated people. It is really impressive how he could come up with such a device, while practicing the 3Rs at the same time. 

What connected with me the most was during the moment he shared about approaching the illegal loggers for the very first time. 
He mentioned:
This is the moment where you can see where I’m actually regretting perhaps the entire endeavor. I’m not really sure what’s on the other side of this hill…….But he went, so I had to go, walking up, and in fact, he made it over the hill, and interrupted the loggers in the act.”

I’m pretty sure that most of us have felt the feeling of fear before, and it’s really comforting to know that the people who do make a difference and solve difficult problems feel fear as well.

Perhaps we could learn from White as well, creating solutions to existing problems, more than we will ever do by just facing our textbooks and memorizing predigested information. Personally, I’m really grateful for his speech for I no longer feel like a disembodied “third party” while reading my notes. The things we learn about are real and soon, it will be up to all of us to make the changes and find these solutions — and quickly.
Watch “What can save the rainforest? Your used cellphone” here:

Also, you can donate your old smartphone to Topher White here:


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