We already know how good trees are for the environment. Hello — they create the very air we breathe! They also provide us with shade, food, paper and building materials. Thanks, trees <3 But as natural resources dwindle, there’s a new kind of tree that may change our very concept of nature. It’s called eTree, and it will blow your mind.

eTree is part of a social project by a company called Solar Giving, aimed at promoting environmental awareness and sustainability, creating a link between the environment and technology. The tree is made from solar panels, which harvest the sun’s energy much like regular leaves, but in a way that allows us to actually use that power.

This standalone solar power source could have major implications for creating greener spaces in deserts or simply improving the look of solar panel fields as they’ve currently existed. Now, instead of rows and rows of dark black glass, we can have forests of energy-harvesting trees.

The hope is that eTree will also thrive in + encourage the promotion of green spaces where people can gather to appreciate the nature around them. We can just see it now; a beautiful meadow or orchard, with just enough eTrees scattered about for families and friends to cluster around, power up their grills and phones and get to socializing. IRL… and, fine, on Facebook.

What do you think of this project? Cool new tech or too 22nd century? Let us know in the comments below.