Just "Ecosia" It

Wolfe Rygaard

The Ecosia logoPhoto byEcosia

In today’s world, the solution to all of your problems is just one Google search away. Well… all but one solution. What if I told you that you can plant trees, and thus help the environment, by simply using a different search engine? That’s exactly what Ecosia does. Chances are you don’t use Ecosia, maybe you’ve never even heard of it. In fact, you’re probably placing Ecosia on the list of scams you’ve seen over your lifetime because, just like that Nigerian prince who wants to share his inheritance, this sounds too good to be true. However, Ecosia is a Certified B Corporation which means the company “voluntarily met the highest standards for social and environmental performance”. Furthermore, Certified B Corporations operate under a model known as stakeholder governance which requires them to consider the impacts of their decisions on all of their stakeholders. Simply put, Ecosia’s eco-friendly operations won’t be changing any time soon thanks to the law. Now that we’ve established that Ecosia is definitely a real thing, let’s look into how exactly Ecosia plants trees with the help of your internet searches.

Ecosia partners with a number of organizations such as PUR and Progreso Peru, in order to plant trees. With the help of these aforementioned organizations, Ecosia has planted over 900,000 trees in Peru alone. That amounts to over 1300 hectares restored. If you’re still looking for the catch, trust me, there is none. Although you can support Ecosia by purchasing merchandise, the most common way of supporting the cause, simply searching the web, is completely free. Every time you look for something on Ecosia, or any search engine for that matter, a number of ads will be displayed on the page. The most common are sponsored posts which are placed at the top of the page. Individuals and companies alike pay to place their products or businesses in these coveted spots. The money generated is then used to cover the costs of maintaining the company with the leftover amount being sent to a partner or placed into a reforestation fund(Feel free to check out their full financial report here: https://blog.ecosia.org/ecosia-financial-reports-tree-planting-receipts/). As if it couldn’t get any better, Ecosia is also powered by solar energy. So much so that their operations are not only carbon-neutral but carbon-negative, meaning the amount of carbon absorbed by the trees is greater than the amount of carbon released by the maintenance of the servers. In their latest release, Ecosia was reported to be powered by 200% renewable energy. Some quick math shows Ecosia only uses half of the energy they generate via solar panels. In short, they have enough renewable energy for themselves and then some.

You may be wondering why Ecosia isn’t used by everyone if it’s so good for the environment. The main reason is Google’s grip on the public. Google is seemingly connected to every app and site, hence the “Sign in with Google” button you see everywhere. This constant use of Google, whether through email or YouTube, has led many to use the internet as if only Google exists. For example, saying “Google it” has become commonplace even though there are other search engines (When was the last time you heard someone say “Ecosia it”?). The popularity of Google isn’t the only reason though. Google, to its credit, is widely considered the best search engine in terms of consistently providing the most relevant results. Though Ecosia searches are powered by Bing, a product of the tech-giant Microsoft, there’s a reason Bing struggled to touch Google in terms of users despite giving away Amazon gift cards in return for searching. With Ecosia already making a worldwide impact, imagine how many forests would be restored if its user base was even half that of Google which manages over 90% of all online searches.

In actuality, using Ecosia is possibly the easiest way to help the environment. All you have to do is switch your default browser and you’re done. Going about your day as normal will now send your money to organizations dedicated to reforesting the world instead of adding to the pockets of already-rich executives. Furthermore, Ecosia partners with organizations focused on biodiversity hotspots, which are areas with over 1500 species of endemic plants (plants only found in that area) that have been diminished by at least 70%. Basically, you are getting the most bang for your buck by planting a tree where it is needed most. The next time you have a question, get an answer and plant a tree or as I like to say, just Ecosia it.






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I am an environmental scientist who currently resides in Puerto Rico. I’m also passionate about basketball and Tottenham Hotspur.

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