TOPHER WHITE

RAINFOREST TECHNOLOGIST

“I feel incredibly lucky to be doing this work. The idea of trying to socially hack into the good nature of people is really rewarding.”

When your mobile phone reaches the end of its brief life, what will become of it? Will it go into landfill, or could it save the rainforest?

It was in the unusual surroundings of an Indonesian gibbon refuge that engineer, Topher White had his eureka moment. A simple device made of discarded mobile phones and solar panels that detects and alerts the authorities to the sound of chainsaws in protected rainforests, allowing intervention in real time.

His app, “Rainforest Connection” allows anyone, anywhere to dial in and listen to the incredible sounds of the Sumatran rainforest, and alert authorities if they hear the chilling noise of chainsaws or logging.

Photography by Tyler Roemer