The Giving Tree Goes to Niger

Courtesy of TechCrunch, I just did one of those things online that I never had any intention of doing before but seemed like a good idea in this ‘World is Flat’ environment: I bought a tree in Niger.

No, I can’t plot Niger on a map (I could at least get it on the right continent), and I haven’t knowingly met anyone from the country, but my tree’s now visible to the world at Tree Nation, a site that aims to try to fight poverty and desertification. The site writes:

"Desertification is potentially the most threatening ecosystem change impacting
  livelihoods of the poor" (UNCCD).  It is about land degradation caused by
  CLIMATE CHANGE and human-induced factors.

By planting a tree you will make a difference by helping to create a giant heart in Niger, the poorest
  country in the world, and one of the most affected by desertification.


There are different types of trees at different price points, all priced in Euros (convert currency here, if you need to). The whole experience feels somewhat like Habbo Hotel, the online game/virtual world/social network (the lines keep blurring). Unfortunately, it’s a little clunky, and it took me a few minutes to mouse around and click the right link to go and plant a tree; a simpler option without the fancy Flash interface could help drive some more sales by those who want to get in and out of the site really quickly.

All in all though, it’s a great, engaging experience for a cause that I, for one, didn’t even know was that much of an issue, and I surely didn’t know any easy way to help it in that region. I’m adding this to my ever-growing list of reasons I love the Web.

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