Ecosia is a search engine that donates 80% of its income to rainforest restoration and aims to support the planting of one million new trees in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.
Income is generated from both Eco links and Eco Ads. This currently equates to around $2,700 per day. The search engine belongs to a German social business owned by Christian Kroll.
In 2013 the search engine underwent several changes and the upgraded version now provides a new interface as well as a new partnership with The Nature Conservancy and it is now possible to keep track of how many trees you have planted.
Because the Atlantic forest provides several important benefits, including freshwater provision, climate regulation, wood and food as well as habitat for a diverse range of animals and 60% of Brazil’s endemic species it is an incredibly important and overwhelmed ecosystem. This project is so valuable because the Atlantic forest is now a tiny 12% of its original size. Deforestation has been caused by urban expansion, agriculture, exotic plantations, ranching and illegal logging. Due to this it is now considered one the worlds most endangered tropical forests.
The “Plant a Billion Trees” campaign was launched by The Nature Conservancy in 2008 and aims to restore the Brazilian Atlantic Forest by planting one billion native trees. The hope is that the restoration efforts will reforest 1 million acres and connect many remnants, creating forest corridors. Rebuilding this ecosystem could potentially remove 4 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year as well as restoring natural cycles and provide drinking water and hydroelectricity for millions of people.
So far Ecosia has planted 137,152 trees through donations.
A new tree is planted by the sustainable search engine every 60 seconds. Since 2010, Ecosia has contributed $1.7 million to conservation, and will contribute this funding to the Plant a Billion Trees program, with a guaranteed payment of $150,000 per year. Of the donations that Ecosia makes to the Conservancy, 90% are directly forwarded to the Plant a Billion Trees program. The remaining 10% are used by the Conservancy to cover any costs. In the interest of transparency, Ecosia publishes monthly donation receipts.
But this is not the only way Ecosia green search is helping to protect the environment. It also completely carbon-neutral, this means neutralizing any carbon generated by output from servers, offices, the electronic device used by the searcher and more. To offset any emissions Ecosia uses a Gold-standard project in Madagascar run by myclimate, supporting the manufacture and distribution of climate-friendly solar and efficient cookers. It doesn’t stop at supporting a healthy environment. Ecosia also helps users to find information on sustainability, such as how green a company or brand may be.
So how can you support Ecosia?
The best way is to set Ecosia green search as your default search engine. After that you can spread the word, share it on Facebook or Twitter, tell your organization or simply suggest the search engine to friends and family.
Don’t forget Ecosia is completely free so it’s never been easier to help the environment.
Megan Smith is a third year student studying Ecology and Wildlife Conservation in Bournemouth. She has completed work placements with the Research Institute for Nature and Forestry and the UmPhafa Reserve in South Africa, owned by Colchester Zoo. She plans to go on to do a masters degree once she graduates.