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Eco-Friendly Search with Ecosia: An Evergreen Concept

April 8, 2019 - Stephan Salt

If you have a soft spot for the environment and you think you are not doing enough yourself, then Ecosia is the next thing you need in your life.

Ecosia is a search engine with a difference.

What I mean is, every time you search through Ecosia, the search ads generate income for the business which is then used to plant trees.

What is Ecosia?

Ecosia App Download - Android Store

Founded in 2009 by Christian Kroll, Christian learned the connection between globalisation and climate change and how planting new trees could actually neutralise CO2 emissions on a very large scale. He came up with the idea of a search engine that can help finance planting and restoration projects.

In late 2009, the idea for Ecosia.org was born and the tree planting search engine launched in December of that year. It is a Berlin-based social business…

Ecosia’s Growth

Seedling Growing

10 years on, they have already planted over 51 million trees, with under 8 million current users, they have managed to continue to grow making a happier environment, healthier people and a strong economy and invested under €10m.

Ecosia supports over 20 tree-planting projects in 15 different countries; Peru, Brazil, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Haiti, Colombia, Spain, Morocco, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Indonesia. To achieve this, they have worked with local partners who are able to monitor the trees on the ground. They are planning to visit more areas around the world to start new planting projects.

They look for the best places on the planet to plant trees and the best places are biodiversity hotspots, which are areas that hold particularly high numbers of unique species. These locations face extreme threats. These hotspot hold at least 1,500 species of endemic plants and have been diminished by at least 70%.

Currently, there are 35 such hotspots, which represent 2.3% of our Earth’s land surface – which in scale is tiny, but they support more than half of the world’s plant species and nearly 43% of bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian species that are found nowhere else on Earth.

Trees are tremendously helpful in creating value to farmers and communities. They can prevent erosion, create a stable microclimate for other crops, restore the water systems or provide new means of income.

Within the poorest agricultural regions of our planet, communities and farmers do not have the means to start tree-planting and restoration on a larger scale. It’s hard to find investment from private finances because they don’t get a return within three years, and public finance carries large administrative burdens.

Grass Roots Initiative

Ecosia Grass Roots Initiative

By planting in these areas, Ecosia is employing local communities and giving farmers an attractive alternative to selling their land for monoculture production.

The searches that users are doing within Ecosia are helping so much, such as restoring degraded areas in the central part of the Kalimantan Islands, where crops are able to grow between the trees which means that local population can both restore their landscapes and have the pick of more abundant crops.

Ecosia is also part of the Green Belt movement in Kenya, which has allowed them to help people to conserve biodiversity, restore ecosystems and mitigate local manifestations of climate change.

So just a few things that they have done from their 8 million current users.

The amazing generosity of the Ecosia employees is a community of people who want to create a greener and better life for everyone, therefore every single ad click generates a percentage of revenue that Ecosia gives back to planting projects. Even when they make a small commission from their online store, all profits go into projects meaning that every time they sell a T-Shirt they can plant another 20 trees and nothing outside of basic running costs goes into the pockets of the team. Planting trees are their mission.

In a recent blog they have outlined 50 reasons why you should use Ecosia, but here are the top 5 according to Ecosia themselves if you need any more persuading:

  1. Plant trees by doing nothing

Our environment needs trees. By searching with Ecosia you can help to reverse the worst effects of climate change for free. No seeds, gardening experience or travel to a hot climate required: we take care of all that.

  1. Feel less guilty about your carbon footprint

Each search with Ecosia removes roughly 1 kg of CO2 from the air. So, searching with us helps to make carbon removal part of your daily routine! Remember that Google could absorb 15% of all emissions worldwide if it adopted our business model.

  1. We’re clean as a whistle

In addition to all the trees we plant, we took the concept of being renewable to a whole new level, by building our own solar plants in Germany to power our servers on 100% renewable energy.

  1. Restore degraded soil, so that we don’t all run out of vegetables

Most people don’t think of soil as being particularly important. Yet it is responsible for growing the food we need to survive. Ecosia is making the earth fertile again in Burkina Faso and regenerating arid landscapes in Spain.

  1. Fight the palm oil industry

By providing farmers in Indonesia with alternative sources of income.

Does Ecosia plant a tree for every search?

Planting a tree initiative

Trees are the superheroes of our blue planet, they help mitigate climate change, restart water cycles, stop deserts from spreading and turn barren grounds back to fertile woods and farmlands.

A big question that people have been asking is – “If I use Ecosia, will they plant a tree every time?”

Well, unfortunately, this is not the case, you will need to do approximately 45 searches to finance the planting of a single tree. However, if you think about it, how often do you google something in a day, this could rack up loads of trees.

Ecosia currently funds the planting of a new tree EVERY second due to 8 million active users.

Say you search with Ecosia three times in a day for a year, (but typically you would search for more – without realising), this would mean that you would tally up to have 1095 search requests in that year. Since they plant a new tree, on average, every 45 searches, you would have then helped raise the funds to plant 24.3 real trees in those 35 different places across the 15 current countries.

Every search a user does, Ecosia generates 0.05 cents (EUR) and it costs 0.22 cents (EUR) to earn enough to plant one tree. But depending on clicks on the ads and the revenue that the ads generate, then it could take fewer searches to get one tree.

Where do Ecosia’s search results come from?

Bing Search Engine

Some users’ have expressed concern that the user experience is going to be completely different. This is where it gets interesting. It gives you suggestive search results and it is as quick as retrieving the results as Google. The only difference is that Ecosia’s search results and search ads are powered by Microsoft Bing. They use Bing’s search technology, enhanced with Ecosia’s own algorithms, but at the same time, it still looks like Google’s platform.

Ecosia ‘game-fying’ search

Every time you search you will see a personal tree counter go up by one this will help you identify how many searches you have done and the goal you’ll reach to get the funds to plant a new tree.

Another added feature is that Ecosia will recommend a website which it deems a website that shares the same mission and values with a simple indicator – a green leaf.

Conclusion

Ecosia is really simple and easy to install. Either used as a plugin or simply entering a query in the www.ecosia.org search box will count towards Ecosia’s dream.

Let us make a better tomorrow by simply searching with Ecosia rather than your normal search engine. Currently, at home, I’ve racked up more than 20,000 results which are approximately 444 trees. Instead of googling it, Ecosia it.

At Fifteen we work hard to ensure all our projects are as friendly to the environment as they are to the bottom line. Whether design, development or SEO, we work hard to ensure that each and every project is at the cutting edge of the industry. Ecosia is one of these leading-edge developments and we look forward to seeing how modern tech can shape our planet in the future.

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