In an article on Ecosia is a black and white image of an extended hand holding a tree.

Ecosia: An Environmentally Conscious Alternative to Google

Contribute toward the planting of trees with a simple browser switch.
June 1, 2023
7 mins read

Most people do not pay much attention to their choice of search engine. For many, it is simply a means to an end, a way to quickly access necessary information or entertainment.

Google reigns supreme as far as web browsers go; in 2020, the industry giant held a ginormous search engine market share of 91.34%. Their stranglehold on the market continues today, and competitors such as Bing and Firefox are unable to ever pose a realistic threat.

The massive search engine is so entrenched in modern society and culture that it is a part of our vernacular; “Google it” is a common phrase, and you will be hard-pressed to find anyone who does not understand it. When a majority of people think about search engines, they immediately think of Google.

However, some are beginning to grow wary of the industry giant due to the way it tracks user activity and bombards them with targeted advertisements. Others, Gen Zers in particular, may also morally object to supporting large corporations. Studies show that Gen Z prefers companies committed to sustainability and bettering the world.

Introducing Ecosia

For readers interested in an alternative search engine experience — one that prioritizes environmental sustainability — it may be time to ditch Google in favor of a small yet ambitious web browser called Ecosia.

Launched in 2009 during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the Berlin-based search engine company prides itself on being “CO2  negative,” financially transparent and protective of its users’ data and privacy.

Ecosia uses approximately 80% of its profits to support tree-planting projects across the globe, standing “shoulder-to-shoulder with local communities” and planting trees where they are needed most. Their profits are derived from user searches, and Ecosia estimates that approximately 50 searches result in one tree planted.

Since its launch, the web browser and its 20 million users have planted over 170 million trees worldwide.

But Where?

Ecosia plants trees in over 35 countries with the help of local organizations. These countries are scattered throughout Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia and the Americas. The search engine is currently contributing to around 70 environmental projects worldwide, and these projects are responsible for planting over 900 species of trees.

In addition, Ecosia is transparent about its operations. Its regularly updated blog offers digestible statistics and accompanying infographics that detail Ecosia’s unique contributions to each country. Information about its partners, planting methods and even the species of trees in use are all available for public viewing.

Take Brazil, for instance. The South American nation has seen a massive uptick in deforestation due to semi-frequent forest fires and cattle-holding interests; the latter necessitates the clearing of trees.

Ecosia partnered with local organizations in 2012, such as CEPAN, PACTO and Instituto Espinhaço. Funding from the web browser is helping restore the Atlantic Forest to its former glory, planting 19 million trees and protecting 60% of Brazil’s endangered species in the process.

Building a Better World

Safeguarding the environment is an imperative part of protecting wildlife. Ecosia’s efforts benefit not only a variety of ecosystems around the world but also the creatures that live there.

Ecosia partnered with organizations such as the Jane Goodall Institute in Kenya to restore Chimpanzee habitats. Over one million trees have been planted in order to connect Kenya’s remaining forests, ensuring that chimpanzees can safely move between them.

In Indonesia, trees are planted on former palm oil plantations to create alternative sources of income for local residents.

Fire-resistant species of trees are also being planted in France to raise wildfire awareness.

In short, Ecosia is tackling environmental issues on nearly every continent. Their financial contributions are improving ecosystems, communities and survival prospects for hundreds of endangered species.

By making a simple switch in search engine preference, anyone can be part of this world-changing movement.

Unprecedented Transparency

Ecosia prides itself on being as transparent as possible with its users. The company publishes financial reports every month, detailing monthly revenue as well as precise fiscal contributions to each partner country. Data also shows what percentage of the revenue goes toward noncharitable payments, such as operational costs and taxes. These reports date back to January 2015.

A number of sources confirm Ecosia’s legitimacy. The company is B Lab certified, a private certification of for-profit companies that ensures their commitment to social sustainability, environmental performance and personal accountability. As of 2023, Ecosia maintains a B Impact score of 106.8 (the median score for ordinary businesses is 50.9).

Based on this impressive score, the company has earned a spot on the “Best for the World Community” list since 2015.

Your Next Google Search: “Ecosia”

Ecosia is the perfect web browser for environmentally conscious individuals who want to inch away from big corporations. There’s nothing wrong with searching on Google, and some users may not even care that their activity is tracked.

However, Ecosia will still appeal to a lot of people. Despite its smaller development team and lack of brand recognition, Ecosia is a respectable, trustworthy search engine that boasts commendable transparency. Users know exactly what their searches are funding, and they can learn about a variety of current environmental projects through the Ecosia blog.

With young people more invested in conservation than ever before, Ecosia will hopefully see further growth in the coming years.

So why not give it a try? After all, it will certainly take the guilt out of mindless scrolling and online shopping when you realize that every single search is contributing toward the betterment of our planet.

You’ll be planting trees across the globe, and you don’t even need to leave your living room.

Joshua Laine, Emmanuel College

Writer Profile

Joshua Laine

Emmanuel College
Writing, Editing and Publishing

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