Climate Change

Meet the search engine that plants trees as it works


It’s no secret that tech has a dirty name when it comes to the environment. Behemoth corporations such as Apple and Google both have a controversial histories in this department, despite recent attempts to reach a more sustainable future.

One little known search engine originating from Belgium however, is looking to change that.

Introducing Ecosia, the search engine that plants a tree every time someone clicks the search button.

With 2.5 million users per month, the search engine donates 80 per cent of its income (after expenses) to programmes that sow trees all over the world.

Donating roughly $75,000 per month, Ecosia is responsible the planting of four new trees a minute according to its spokesperson. It plans to grow at least one billion trees by 2020, although it had hoped to do this by 2016.

Unfortunately the combined issues of high planting costs and lack of audience meant that the engine was slow to take off and didn’t celebrate its first million trees until 2014 — six years after its founding.

After reforesting in Brazil, where planting cost a dollar a tree, the engine set its sights on Burkina Faso where it costs only 30 cents per tree.

Now at nearly five million trees, things are looking up for the engine, having increased search turnaround speed by 34 per cent.

Interestingly, Ecosia is powered primarily by Bing and users have the opportunity to browse Google results for the very same inquiry.

Speaking to Salon, spokesperson, Jacey Bingler, said that, “it’s about reviving drought-ravaged landscapes, nurturing, educating and empowering people, slowing the spread of disease and even reducing the likelihood of extremism and violent conflict.”

Each month the search engine releases its donation statements to the public.

In April (when Ecosia last updated its statements), the search engine managed to donate €48,000 to WeForest, which is the equivalent sowing of 178,571 trees.

The month before, the company donated €83,750, which equates to the planting of 299,107 trees in the Burkina Faso area.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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