Ecowarriors' New Tool: Google Earth

Conservationists use app to highlight local environment concerns
By Caroline Miller,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2007 11:34 AM CST

(Newser) – The Wall Street Journal looks at environmental nonprofits that are harnessing Google Earth to connect consumers with the effects of their purchasing choices. One example, Appalachian Voices, has integrated data from coal mining companies with Google mapping to allow users to see where their power comes from: the specific mountaintops that have been destroyed to provide the coal burned in the plants that feed their zip code.

The North Carolina-based NGO isn't the first activist group to harness Google Earth, but the new twist is to link consumers to the environmental costs of their lifestyle: the clear-cutting that produces their lumber, or the polluted areas where their diamonds were mined. "When you can show people they have a direct connection, it makes it that much more relevant to their day-to-day life," said Appalachian Voices' director.