Can the Web save us from global warming?

In one word? Yes!

According to the recently published Hot, Flat and Crowded book by Prof. Thomas L Friedman, the challenge ahead for us is to create a system that takes into account the 3 main points of climate change:

(1) Speed (we must move fast in our actions if we want to have a chance to stop global warming)

(2) Protection (we have to stop what we already have from being destroyed)

(3) Innovation / education (we have to intensify our knowledge sharing in order to achieve breakthroughs to create a new generation of the Earth’s guardians).

How could we build such a system in such a short time? Well, maybe the answer is that we do not need to build one from scratch but utilize what we already. That is, we need to utilize the Internet.

Thinking along those lines, a businessman, a native Brazilian tribe leader and a group of rubber tappers built one of the most forward-thinking initiatives in Amazon Rain forest protection - the “Yorenka Atame Forest University”.

A university, which is located literally in the middle of the Amazon Forest (accessible only by boat), forms a center where the Amazon’s stakeholders share knowledge, later applying what they learneback to the forest.

The university has two classrooms, a library and a guest home for 40 people, but what makes it unique is the vision of the university, which has been crafted by the native Brazilian Ashaninka tribe leaders and other environmental leaders such as Chico Mendes (a Brazilian rubber tapper, unionist and environmental activist murdered in 1988 by ranchers opposed to his activism).

Their vision conveys the main point that the forest itself teaches how to preserve the forest.

The challenge faced by the “white men” was how to introduce useful resources such as technology (video cameras, computers and Internet) without jeopardizing the traditional culture of the native Brazilians. After long debate it was decided to implement the technologies.

The wise decision started to show results and illustrates how the Internet could play an important role in the protection of our global resources. In 2004, a Peruvian "wood hunter" group got into the area, (in the past when such invasion occurred, the only way out would be toengage in deadly combat (which usually contributed to the native Brazilians drop in numbers) but this time using the “white-man” technology, the native Brazilians started sending out e-mails that reached the mass media and the government and in a couple of days a military force came to rescue the native Brazilians.

The Internet became the point of communication not only among the tribes (some of the tribes live hundreds of miles apart) but also with the world.

So, if the Internet works for protection. Can it work in other areas of Climate Change? , The answer is "yes." Innovation and education have been covered by the millions of Websites focusing on “the green issues” by providing valuable resources and tools that enable anyone to re-think, re-create and “react” on our climate change challenges.

Another example of how the Internet can be such a powerful tool was the Website that raised over $10,000 in just 48 hours through the power of Twitter and social media. 336 contributors collectively raised enough money to fund a new classroom for a school in Tanzania.

The Internet can positively contribute to a greener society. What we may see next is the “Web Green point zero” approach where the connectivity of the new Internet contribute to make the world a greener place.

Founder of –

Other posts by Flavio Souza:


What you have written is relevant but misses the real point of how the Internet will save us. Facebook, especially Twitter, You Tube and the increasing linking of blogs are hosting an ever increasing conversation that is rapidly raising consciousness of the enormity of the issues facing us. This is how we will be saved. Get an account and have your say!!

I love your article and absolutely agree. I would even add a few points to further show how significant the internet can be to helping the environment.

The first is telecommuting. Imagine companies allowing desk-job employees to telecommute even just one day a week. That would create a whopping 20% reduction in the weekday gas emissions per employee. As the company gains a greater comfort level with telecommuting, they could increase the number of days per week and further reduce emissions and energy spent.

Telecommuting would be made even more readily possible through the internet by online file sharing, virtual servers and web/video conferencing.

Speaking of, the more companies utilize web and video conferencing, the greater they would reduce airplane trips, car rentals and other enormous energy consumers. All this with the added benefit of improving their bottom line.

We want to support companies as they work to adopt these and other green measures at the EcoChamber ( I would love to hear other ideas that we can include.

Thanks for sharing your article!

Can the internet save us from global warming? No, cause there ain't no such thing. There are so many variables in cyclical climatology. *sigh*

For humans to think that we have caused global warming by Co2 emissions and now we can actually affect climate change by our actions is pretty stupid. Volcanic eruptions (natural occurrences) put more Co2 into the atmosphere than hundreds of thousands of cars so are we going to blow up dormant volcanoes too, just in case?

How about reading this article before jumping on the Global Warming bandwagon?,,25182520-11949,00.html


It is an amazing article. Yes it is possible, in my view too.

I agree on the 3 main points Speed, protection and Innovation.

The web can break the shackles around information-hiding, possibly ignite the open-know-how movement. Channelize the energies towards creative pursuits, curb misuse of the same information for destructive purposes.
Bring together teams around the world working towards the common cause, improve collaboration among them. Bring convergence among people with divergent viewpoints.

Maybe there are so many other points, but the final word is - break all barriers and pave the way forward for "reversing the human impact on global warming".