If you haven’t already heard, Ecosia is a search engine, in the same way that you might use Google or Bing search. With a difference, whilst you are using some aspects of it, the profits from your clicks can go towards planting trees.
“Ecosia have enabled the planting of over 29million trees.”
What has it changed for us?
Well in terms of what do we, (or you) need to change, almost nothing. Which is what makes it such a simple and effective thing to do. We still use Chrome, but instead of Google search, we use Ecosia [www.ecosia.org] and every once in a while click on one of the search result ads. That’s it! If you already use Bing or Yahoo then you’ll not even notice a difference in search results as Ecosia uses those engines by default, but you can also switch to show Google result. If you are effective with your search terms, you can often ensure that the site you want is one of the adverts/top results and so it’s even easier to raise money for tree planting because the ad links are actually what you need.
“Searching with Ecosia is like searching with any other search engine, with one major difference. We use the profit we make from your searches to plant trees where they are needed most.”
The organisation uses 80% of their ad revenue profit to plant trees. They don’t track you like most other search engines and they don’t sell on your data. They also are just as transparent about the 3 month turn-around time from your clicks to the money going into the projects. The projects are part of the “rainforest protection programme” run by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
“Ecosia is a search engine that uses at least 80% of its profits from search ad revenue for tree planting projects all over the world. By searching with Ecosia, you can help the environment for free.”
The startup company has definitely got a few people talking. They are using something that so many people do a lot of, everyday towards a good cause. They donate approximately 75,000$ per month, That’s more than a few trees every minute with your help. At the moment the projects planting trees are located across South America and North Africa. You can [see their map].
We are not (yet!) suggesting that Ecosia is the the most ecologically sound of the commonly used search engines. Both Google and Bing/Microsoft use large amounts of renewable energy, and are both also moving towards a more ‘carbon neutral’ business model which is great. Also, Ecosia ‘uses’ the search engines from Bing/Yahoo/Google… and so you could argue it has no real impact. However, we’re a big believer in the increasing need for more trees. They help to keep the earth cooler, help to prevent floods, give shade so that A/C units aren’t needed as much and absorb some of our huge global carbon output. Ecosia for us, remains a step in the right direction towards [our business philosophy]. The energy they use to bring you the actual search results is supplied by a German co-operative company Greenpeace Energy, but the rest is reliant on others.
What now? Some ideas:
www.ecosia.org (site and search)
Interested in taking your own web site(s) into a more sustainable direction? Then consider hosting with a company who use renewable energy. An example is www.greengeeks.com/web-hosting/ (one of many, but choose one that fits your needs).