Ecosia, The Bing-Powered Search Engine That Donates Its Revenue to the Environment
Name: Ecosia (Visit Ecosia)
Type: Search Engine
Best Website For: Search Engine that Donates Ad-Revenue
Reason it's on The Best Sites:
Ecosia is a search engine that donates 80% of its revenue to charities that support the environment. Their focus is on charities that plant trees. On their home page, you'll see a counter that represents the amount of planted trees that they have funded. Their search is powered by Bing.
We recorded the tenth episode of our Tree Update series in one of our tree nurseries in Ghana – featuring a special guest! In this episode, I give you the latest updates on how your searches (and t-shirts) help us reforest a riverbank in Ghana, grow over two million fruit trees in Morocco, restore volcano slopes in Nicaragua and save Orangutans in Indonesia.
People change. Sometime in the best, most surprising way.
We met Moses in Uganda while visiting our reforestation project. The nursery he's managing there helps to sustain the local chimp population. Here’s how: the trees that Moses is growing (and that your searches are funding) are planted along rivers that connect existing forest patches. Thanks to these ‘forest corridors’, chimpanzees can safely roam from one forest to the next when foraging for food or searching for mates.
Before the forest corridors were planted, chimpanzees regularly came into conflict with local farmers. As their natural habitat dwindled, the great apes started to venture into agricultural fields, in search for food. Many chimps were shot by farmers, and their babies were sold into the illegal pet trade. The forest corridors Moses is helping to plant have dramatically improved this tragic situation because the chimps no longer need to leave their forest.
But that’s just one part of the story. The more we talked to him, the more we realized that Moses wasn’t always the environmental leader he is today. This video tells the story of his transformation:
What do our planting projects sound like? How many tree updates can our Tree Planting Officer Pieter squeeze into one phone call? And what are the strangest ‘Climate Change is a hoax’ theories on the internet?
We want to try and answer all of these questions. And what’s the best format for that? A podcast! From now on, you can get in-depth updates from our projects, the Ecosia team’s views on climate related news and expert opinions from interesting people in sustainability. You can subscribe to The Ecosia Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, or wherever you get your podcasts!
In this episode, Pieter and I talk about how rain is currently affecting many of our projects (we found a map that shows you where it’s currently rainy season in the world), about how we are offering an alternative to palmoil monoculture with our projects in Indonesia, the incredibly cool fact that there’s a new village forming around one of our planting sites in Madagascar, and the critical political situation in Nicaragua.
Jacey and Lasse decided to look for the strangest ‘Climate change is a hoax’ theories on the internet and try to debunk them. For this episode, they chose Dan Peña’s claim that climate change must be a fraud because ‘otherwise banks wouldn’t give out loans for coastal property’. Strong language included (courtesy of Mr. Peña; Jacey and Lasse were rather well-behaved). Here are the resources they found during their research.
Given that this is our first Ecosia podcast episode, we would be very interested to hear your thoughts. Please send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You don't meet someone as inspiring as Almaz every day. She's leading a forest-planting women's group in Ethiopia with courageous, tireless dedication.
We made a short video about all the different ways your searches have changed her life for the better. And although this is the story of a particular individual, it says something much more universal: that helping others can go hand in hand with improving one's own life.
Some Ecosians have asked us to make a video they can share with friends who don't know Ecosia yet. So we did! These are the top five reasons to use Ecosia instead of Google:
As of today, the Ecosia community has planted 30 million trees. We want to thank you for looking after our planet by removing 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, planting 415 different local tree species, and restoring entire ecosystems.
But just as importantly, we want to thank you for changing lives:
The world is really interesting. We were remined of this a few months ago in Uganada as we were walking toward one of Ecosia's nurseries. We started chatting to Claire, who looks after the trees your searches have planted. It was one of those conversations where we wished the camera was rolling.
Luckily, it was:
It’s been a year since we paired up with web browser Vivaldi – a customisable web browser based in Norway that is committed to running on clean energy.
By making Ecosia their default search engine, Vivaldi users have helped to plant an amazing 36,560 trees and counting!
Find out how these searches are helping to restore forest corridors for chimpanzees in Uganda, in this special update from our tree-planting officer, Pieter:
Can a search engine offset its carbon footprint and go even further? At Ecosia, we’re not only concerned with running on clean energy; we want to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to tackle global climate change.
If the internet were a country it would rank #3 in the world in terms of electricity consumption, according to a recent Greenpeace report. Servers used to run the web need a lot of power. We believe that energy should be produced by renewable sources, and that it is the responsibility of companies to make sure their operations do not harm the planet.
That’s why in 2017, we decided to build our own solar energy plant to ensure that our servers will always be run on 100% renewable energy. The 531kWp plant is now up and running, delivering clean energy to the grid and replacing electricity derived from fossil fuels.
And that’s not all. Since we use our profits to plant trees, every search with Ecosia actually removes approximately 1 kg of CO2 from the atmosphere. How? On average, it takes around 50 searches to finance the planting of a new tree. An average tree planted by Ecosia will remove around 50 kg of CO2 from the air during its lifetime.
This means that, if Ecosia were as big as Google, we could absorb 15% of all global CO2 emissions!
Google has been carbon neutral since 2017, but it’s only by searching with Ecosia that you can actively help to mend our planet.
Some success stories begin with failures: Joram’s forest used to be a wasteland, his well used to run dry, and his community suffered. Now, the entire Ugandan village draws clean water from Joram's well. Life is good.
Some success stories begin with failures. But they’re often the best, most successful ones.
See how your searches are helping:
We met Takka on a hill in Ethiopia. He leads a youth group that has planted over 200,000 trees (with your help they aim to plant 300,000 more this year).
He has taught us so much:
- That we are born into a world that gives no guarantees, and that we are faced with the task of making a home here.
- That our resilience and strength surprises, most of all, ourselves.
- That we help each other out, even when life is looking bleak.
- And that, by doing so, we all win in the end.
Watch Takka’s story:
Wunderbar! If you're a Firefox user in Germany, you can now find Ecosia in Firefox's official selection of alternative search engines. Switching from Google has never been easier!
This makes Ecosia the first and only social business to have been added to one of the four big browsers.
More info here.
Pieter sat down with legendary primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall to talk chimpanzees, forest corridors and why we need to change attitudes to save the planet.
Ecosia is working with the Jane Goodall Foundation in Uganda to plant trees so that corridors can be established between forest patches. This allows chimps to safely migrate from one area to another and find a mate.
Jane Goodall then took time to answer your questions about what humanity can learn from chimpanzees, and what advice she can give to young women who want to work in science:
With great delight, and after many months of hard work, we introduce our new mobile apps! You can now plant trees on the go by searching the web with your phone or tablet.
Give them a try, won’t you?
Behind the hills of Dila, in southern Ethiopia, Zebras are returning to the valley for the first time in a century. Water fills the banks of the Sofe River in the dry season. Coffee plants thrive under thriving shade trees. Children get ready for school. Ten thousand tree seedlings are growing in a nursery.
These seedlings are funded by your searches: Ecosia has partnered with Green Ethiopia, an eco-humanitarian NGO that has, for the past fifteen years, restored degraded landscapes by empowering local communities.
When we landed in Ethiopia this November, we could not have imagined what we were about to see. What we would learn. Who we would meet. What your web searches could do.
Your searches have helped to reforest the Kulba Gode valley in northern Ethiopia.
In Siqu Ayo, a women’s group has decided to grow a forest in order to protect its community from desertification, soil erosion, and water scarcity. Forests, these women taught us, are political, a matter of war and peace: the lack of clean water and of fertile soil are a root cause of civil unrest – when resources are scarce, they said, people tend to fight over them.
The reforestation project has already had a tangible impact on soil quality.
In the midst of the Fasi mountain range, where Tigrayan tribes live in stone houses, we were welcomed by each and every member of the tree-planting community. The word ‘hospitality’ has not had the same meaning for us since.
On a hill near Bahir Dar, we met a group of 'landless youth’ – young farmers who haven’t inherited any land. The project we’re supporting allows them to reforest eroded, communal land, as well as use that land as a source of income.
This collective produces fruit, honey and seedlings, among many other things.
When we climbed Mount Gango, we saw that your trees, planted on the mountain slope by local farmers, have had a measurable impact on the agricultural activities in the valley below. We knew that trees have this effect – it’s one of the main reasons Ecosia supports reforestation projects – but actually walking through a lush tomato field, in such a dry part of the world, still felt astonishing.
In Safa, a village in southern Ethiopia, we met Rohama and Nebiyu. From our first handshakes we knew that we were in the presence of a powerful team: two people whose guidance of women’s collectives is transforming their region from the roots up. They were a reminder that there are people all over this planet who are brimming with potential. We were also reminded that we have a responsibility to support them, if we can, in fulfilling that potential.
Rohama (left) and Nebiyu (right)
Rohama and Nebiyu are leading a reforestation effort that aims to restore a watershed in a particularly dry, degraded area. The women who manage the tree nursery invest part of their salary into their own projects – fruit orchards, biogas production – which generate further revenue in turn. Now, when someone gets ill, or when someone’s child needs to buy a school uniform, the women’s collectives have enough money in the bank to help each other out. The watershed, meanwhile, has become a forest. The river flows year-round. The region produces almost twice as much coffee as before.
Almaz is a coffee farmer and leads one of the women’s associations that participate in the tree-planting program.
Our time in Ethiopia reassured us that the projects we support are not just ecological: they are humanitarian projects also. They showed us the connection between trees and water, between trees and agriculture, between trees and women’s rights. In Ethiopia, we realized how quickly an environment can be destroyed – and we saw that it can be healed, too.