Conservation gets a second life

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If, like most of us, you didn't have a chance to see a panda in the wild, you might want to try this: WWF's Conservation Island - a virtual presence in Second Life. It doesn't quite beat the real thing, but it's fun to walk around the island surrounded by pandas and an (seemingly oversized?) orangutan.

WWF hopes that "Second Life residents will become a community that helps [them] build and develop the island and at the same time learn about conservation in a fun, engaging and interactive way." It's yet another example of the development world adopting web 2.0 technologies.

Perhaps not as engaging, though very useful, is the recently launched World Water tool from the WBCSD. Based on Google Earth, it allows companies to mash water use in their operations and supply chains with datasets of water-stressed areas to estimate their "water risk." It's a useful reminder that water scarcity is an important risk factor for private sector investments.

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