How many times per week do you search for something online? What if you could do something positive for the environment just as often, without any extra effort? A search engine, Ecosia, aims to help you do just that.
Ecosia functions like many other search engines by using its own algorithms, along with those of Bing, to generate results. Also, like many other search engines, each search displays relevant advertisements next to their results. Instead of pocketing all of this ad revenue, Ecosia uses 80% of their income (after expenses) to fund non-profit organizations that run tree-planting programs. According to a real-time counter on the search engine’s home page, Ecosia now has over 7 million active users and has generated enough money to fund the planting of over 32 million trees. The organization’s ambitious goal is to plant one billion trees by 2020. After accounting for the fact that not everyone clicks on ads, Ecosia estimates that they generate approximately half a Euro per search. At a cost of 22 Euros per tree, they currently process enough searches to fund the planting of one tree every 1.1 seconds.
When Ecosia was founded, they funded a single program in Brazil run by the Nature Conservancy. Today, their impact reaches twelve organizations across five continents. These programs support each country’s combat against the negative impacts of deforestation, such as rainforest degradation in Brazil, droughts in Ethiopia, and biodiversity loss in Spain.
In addition to the ecological benefit of the trees, Ecosia helps the environment by reducing CO2 emissions. Servers are run on the company’s own solar powered plant that was built in 2017. Coupled with the carbon-sequestering power of the trees that they plant, each search removes approximately 1 kg of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Ecosia is concerned with financial transparency and user privacy. Financial reports and tree receipts are published online every month. Additionally, searches are encrypted and are not stored, tracked externally, or sold to advertising companies.
In a world where we lose approximately as many trees as it takes to fill 27 soccer fields to deforestation every minute, Ecosia makes it simple for everyone to play a small role in protecting our natural resources. Download their app or install their Chrome extension today to start “planting trees!”
What are some other easy choices individuals can make to benefit the environment?
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