27 years ago, Alan Emtage, a student at McGill University in Montreal, developed Archie, the very first search engine. That was just the beginning. Somewhere along the way, a symbiotic relationship developed between these continually developing search engines, advertisers, and users which has blossomed into something like we’ve never seen before. Search engines, marketing, and the lives of every day people have become incredibly interconnected and interdependent, like a virtual ecosystem. This human connection in a virtual context has people looking more and more for their internet experience to connect with them in a way that is both socially and environmentally meaningful and responsible. The internet and our culture are continually evolving. Ecosia is the next link in that chain.
A trip around the world, bearing witness to the problems of deforestation, inspired Christian Kroll to found Ecosia.org in 2009. Since then, Ecosia has grown quickly, winning several awards, becoming the first German B Corp, and hitting the milestone of funding its one-millionth tree in 2014. Since then, the team has funded over six-million more, quicly approaching eight-million in total. Now, they have set their sites on a new, ambitious milestone of one-billion trees by 2020, and they can only do it with your help.
Here’s how it works:
Search the web using Ecosia and 80% of the ad revenue generated is used to plant trees through various tree planting projects around the globe. That’s it. Search the web, plant trees. Presently, Ecosia funds tree planting projects in Madagascar, Burkina Faso, Peru, and Indonesia.
The search engine is powered by Bing’s technology and enhanced with Ecosia’s own algorithms. A tree counter sits on the top right of your browser tracking how many trees you have helped fund through your browsing activity, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly it can add up.
Ecosia’s positive impact is growing rapidly. Around 5 million users have already switched to Ecosia and are helping finance a new tree every 5 seconds (that’s one tree every 50 searches)
Trees are critical in their role of absorbing greenhouse gases, acting as a filtering-sponge for the air we breathe. Deforestation and the agriculture that typically follows are major drivers of global climate change by not only expelling tons of carbon dioxide, but removing earths natural filtering system. Tree canopies also provide shade and insulatory cooling for life below. In their absence, the ground can reach inhospitable temperatures and fluctuate drastically in ways that can be harmful to plant and animal life. The soils can quickly dry out and once lush ecosystems can quickly become barren deserts.
Around 80 percent of earths land animals live in the forest. Most of these species live in rainforest near the equator, which is also where a majority of deforestation occurs. Deforestation is a real and present danger for the biodiversity of life around the globe.
Ecosia is a social business working for the social good, measuring their success not by traditional economic standards, but by the level of positive impact that they can achieve.
Want to learn more about Ecosia? Read about the team, their core values, the programs they fund, and more here.