African Pygmies Adopt GPS Technology; World to End Tomorrow at Noon
Yes, the end of the world draws nigh. Animal and plant species continue to disappear at an alarming rate; top rating TV shows feature B-list celebrities doing the cha-cha; and now pygmies are using handheld GPS systems.
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Yes, that’s right — pygmies. The 4’11” and under tribes of African folks – known more for their aversion to high technology than their embrace of it -are using handheld GPS devices to help logging companies bypass sacred sites ”¦ as they rip up the forest for profit.
For decades, native people in Africa have struggled to deal with loggers and hunters, as First World corporations continue to bulldoze and clear-cut their sacred ground; running chainsaws through centuries-old trees long considered holy by generations of local tribes.
Now, with GPS technology supplied by a non-profit organization, logging company Congolaise Industrielle des Bois is working with pygmie tribes, allowing them to plot sacred sites and hunting areas on their GPS devices in the Congo basin rainforest, so that the logging trucks can ”¦ well ”¦ destroy everything else.
The devices use icons rather than words, so that the illiterate locals can use them without having to learn a foreign language, and though we’re quite sure there’s no icon for ”˜send white man and his big yellow truck back where he freaking came from’, that might be a nice touch for future versions of the software.
It could be worse, I guess. And, frankly, for about the last hundred years, it was.