My city, Guadalajara, Mexico, has a big an d wonderful forest called Primavera Forest (Spring Forest). This forest is one of the most important ecological resources of this side of Mexico. It basically keeps the city from having the crazy atmospheric contamination levels that Mexico City has. The forest is practically the same size of the city and it is a protect natural area.
Sadly, this protection is constantly challenges by groups that are interested in turning the forest into premier housing. So periodically we see news of construction sites popping up where they shouldn’t, and, worse yet, fires intentionally caused to remove the protection status a particular area of the forest has (even though law states that a burnt area is still protected for the following 20 years so that it may be reforested).
Forest fires are also supposed to occur naturally, but natural forest fires have natural patterns and seasons, human-caused fires don’t. In either case, there is technology that can help, if not prevent, at least quickly stop fires. At this date, 5 days after the fire started, it has already consumed 4000 ha, that’s about a FIFTH of the forest, in practical terms, this a environmentally catastrophic, the effects of which we will suffer for many years to come.
I am happy that the city is now gearing up to go and reforest as soon as it is safe to do so. Everyone has a great attitude, all over the internet you can see support, groups informing people, etc., in the city you can see lot’s of place to go and leave donations to the firefighters taking care of the problem. Now it’s about 90% controlled and some guilty people have even been found (yes, sadly, this was caused by people without any consciousness whatsoever).
Even so I feel much more could have been made. Preventive systems could have been there to detect sudden changes in temperature to quickly alert forest rangers. These systems already exist, they live inside of tiny pods, work for year on the same battery and automatically build ad-hoc networks through zigbee. They all report to a base station and can quickly pin-point risk areas where real-time satellite imagery or an actual trip could detect a fire before it spreads. Is such a system even that expensive? No it isn’t, compared to the current fire-fighting costs, the environmental cost, the health risks, etc. No it isn’t to a city that owes it’s usually great weather to that forest. I struggle to understand why such a system isn’t there, in a city that is nicknamed “Mexico’s Silicon Valley”.
It’s absurd. We don’t even need to buy the technology. I know zigbee specialists, I know low power specialists, I know networking specialists. We have small manufacturing houses, we have talent. Technology could have saved our forest.