How many times a day do you use Google or other search engines for school, projects, or personal interests? Well, every time you search, that search engine makes money through affiliate links and shopping links. These are usually put towards the top of your search results, and every time someone clicks on that link, the company pays a small amount of money to the search engine. Similarly, every time you click on a product (affiliated with the search engine), the search engine makes revenue. Lastly, targeted ads are displayed on search engines based on your data. This money adds up and is a key element of how search engines have become so successful.
So what does this have to do with saving the planet?
The answer is Ecosia. Ecosia is a search engine that makes money from ad revenue every time you search. A minimum of 80% of that money is used to plant trees. Thanks to Ecosia, over 15 million users have planted over 124,000,000 trees, as of the time this article is published. Ecosia publishes its monthly financial reports and tree planting receipts, so you know that your searches are actually making a difference. According to techjunkie.com, they are a B Corporation, meaning while they are a for-profit organization, they got a certificate from B Lab which means that there are “rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”
While other search engines sell your information to companies to make a profit, as well as use third-party trackers, Ecosia doesn’t do either, so your privacy is kept secure. Not only that, but they are completely CO2-neutral, meaning that there are not any type of carbon emissions as a result of your searches.
They have a variety of projects such as: partnering with the Jane Goodall Institute to plant trees in Uganda to provide a habitat for chimpanzees, planting trees to limit the destructive palm oil industry in Indonesia, and regreening the desert in Burkina Faso that has been highly affected by climate change. (information about each project is included in the links)
While it is a for-profit organization, Ecosia does donate a majority of its funds to non-profit organizations that plant trees and is a legitimate green search engine. Every time you make a search, it counts the number of trees that can be planted with the money you have raised on the top right of the screen. So far, I have “planted” 1,553 trees.
You can get Ecosia here:
Chrome Browser Extension
Want the mobile app? Visit: https://info.ecosia.org/mobile for links to the Google Play and App Store, or search “Ecosia” on your app store of preference.