In the closing ISTE ʻ12 keynote, biologist Dr. Willie Smits shared his inspiring journey of developing an innovative, global grassroots network to save endangered orangutans and the rapidly depleting rainforest in his native Borneo. In conjunction with his efforts, DeforestACTION, a project borne out of Microsoft’s 2010 Regional Innovative Education Forum was launched for and by students around the world.
TakingITGlobal, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to “facilitate global understanding and grow leadership among youth to enhance their participation in social movements for a better world,” facilitated collaborative learning activities and project planning webinars, formed student action groups and helped students to design plans to address deforestation in their local communities as well as globally.
Taking it a step further, students developed an Eco-Warriors project and recruited young people to serve as representatives in the heart of Borneo rainforest. Selected participants spent 100 days between their homeland and Borneo, witnessing villages threatened by the intrusive companies, raising awareness locally & globally through media interviews, educational workshops and social online media, and assisting with the development of an animal rescue and rehabilitation site in one of the Borneo community forests.