Image: PixelforTree, Tree Number 1
Pixel for Tree. You get a tree planted for each pixel of ad space you buy. As far as we know, this is the first green spin-off of the million dollar homepage, although we have mentioned already one do-gooder spin on the idea, the million campaign homepage". But the idea is fun, and seems motivated by good will. No pun intended, considering the founder of Pixel for Tree seems also to be motivated a bit by good Will Smith. Ideally, green ideas spread virally in our networked world, and TreeHugger is here to help you make sense of them. So we went straight to the source, and asked some questions: just what is Pixel for Tree all about? TreeHugger: Why did you decide to start pixelfortree?
PixelforTree: Thanks to many separate ideas that came together one day.
I live with my family in the countryside, on the skirts of the Sierra Nevada (Granada, Spain). I have a son, and what is happening to our planet worries me (these are already good reasons). I have planted about 200 trees on my property, which I care for and watch grow.
Every time I drive my car and see the fields without trees, it hurts me. There is a Spanish saying: "If you want water, plant trees".
A lot of famous people are doing great things for the planet, but I did not see a way to participate and to feel that I am doing something. I try to recycle, and this is very good, but it is better to plant a tree, and in this way you do feel that you are doing something for the planet, it seems more real.
One day, all these small things came together.
TH: What inspired you?
PixelforTree: Everyone would like to help the planet if given the opportunity and it does not require much effort, either economic or physical.
I have spent some time with the internet and a few months ago I learned of the milliondollarhomepage and its related page pixelotto. In the first page, the author took a brilliant idea and achieved a great success in a short time; the problem is that only the author won, it did not provide any benefit to anyone else, except some publicity.
In the second version, they noticed this and have tried to share the benefits, but it does not seem to have the anticipated following.
This gave me the initial spark: the facts were there, they needed only to mature:
- Internet publicity at low cost,
- an original idea,
- and my concerns united with the concerns of many other earth dwellers (I insist on the word earth dweller* = person who lives on the earth) on this island in space.
The answer: "easy reforestation".
The solution is to find inexpensive trees and a method of distribution and easy payment, to make a web page, and see what happens.
TH: Are you a not-for-profit organization?
PixelforTree: No, I need benefactors in order to make my idea reality, it is an honorable proposal and the calculator does not lie.
- 33% of each donation is for purchasing the tree, with shipping and taxes;
- 33% is for PAYPAL (I have not obtained a reduction for my idea);
- 33% is for taking the tree to its destination, planting it, watering it, taking photos, paying the people, maintaining the web, the domain, the hosting, fuel, the car, etc.
I have made it possible that anyone with a little money can plant a tree--from the person who is in their office to somebody that sees in the news the ecological disasters, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, torrential rains. With PixelforTree, now it is easy.
TH: Will you have some certifications by independent organizations that show the money is really going to planting the trees?
PixelforTree: I have thought about several ways to resolve this dilemma, and they are the following:
- By sending a copy of the invoice with the number of the tree from each lot to each sponsor.
- I am going to create a web album with photos of the reforested areas and the trees that we are going to plant so that everyone can follow the progress.
- I am also going to insert a counter on the homepage to show how many trees we are planting.
- By the GPS positioning of the tree in question. (Sony GPS CS1 is about to come on the market for positioning photos geographically).
- By exhibiting the invoices for the purchase of the trees.
Although I don't have a clear idea how people will react to this new idea, I hope that there will be a little understanding and they will give us some room to manouver, after all this is a double BETA version of reforestation and of publicity, in the internet and in the real world.
There are a few details to be cleaned up but I expect that little by little they will be resolved.
TH: What will happen if trees die?
PixelforTree: We are going to minimize the risks by planting native species adapted to the land and which have a high index of survival. We have to think that less than 10% of the trees will wither but that the rest will be in a magnificent situation to extend themselves by their own mechanisms. Luckily, this is not a tree factory but Nature, which is wise and which regulates herself at her own convenience.
TH: Why is the advertisement for "Pursuit of Happyness"/Will Smith showing on your site?
PixelforTree: I am moved by the story of the character and how he believed in his own abilities, how he felt every blow without collapsing until finally reaching his dream: something of peace, something of happiness and something of free time and work which pleases him.
So, in summary, pixelfortree will make it easy for anyone to plant a tree. You donate the money, and PixelforTree will provide "the hands to be stained by the earth." If you are looking for ISO certified, third party verified, tax deductible do-gooding Pixel for Tree may not be for you, but if you want to do something fun and to see your trees join the many that will hopefully be popping up on pixelfortree/maps, then don't delay, act today.
* PfT uses the Spanish word terrícolas. This interview was translated from the Spanish by the author.