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Does Your Search Engine Plant Trees?

March 7, 2016

Realistically, think for a second how many times a day you do a quick internet search to look something up. Whether it is checking what time the store around the block is open until, or solving the debate that you’re having with friends about what year The Sandlot came out. It’s probably sooo much more often than you even realize. What an amazing thing it is that we have all of this information right at our fingertips today. You know what would be even more amazing? Being able to use all those internet searches to make a positive impact on the world. Wondering how that could be possible? Ecosia has got it alllll figured out for us already.

What is Ecosia?

Ecosia.org is a simple search engine, with a layout very similar to what you are most likely used to now. However, Ecosia is planting trees with every Internet search that is performed using their search engine. Absolutely brilliant, if you ask me. I knew as soon as I heard about this I had to share it with you guys. It’s such a simple, easy, effortless way to do something good in the world. We are performing these searches regardless, so we may as well have them contribute to benefiting our Earth in the meantime, right? All that it takes is setting Ecosia as your default search engine instead of the one you are currently using. It’s as simple as that! There are no contracts or apps to download, no fees, it’s just as simple as using a different website to perform your searches. But first, I want to address a few questions that may be running through your head:

First, how does it work?

You know the suggested sites that pop up when you run a search? Usually they’re in a highlighted box at the top of the page of search results or along the sides? Those are advertisements. Those companies pay to have their results show up first based on the keywords that you used. So instead of pocketing all of that ad money, Ecosia takes it and goes to Africa to plant trees. I know what you’re thinking, wait…that sounds too good to be true – what if every company out there was as conscious and giving as that? Well, the world would be a much better place, that’s for sure! Ecosia is doing everything right and THOSE are the types of companies that I love to support and promote through my blog.

How it worksWhen you start using Ecosia you will even be able to see exactly how many trees that you have contributed to planting with their running  tree counter in the top right hand corner of the page. As you keep using the site and performing searches, you will see your tree counter go up and up. It’s a really rewarding feeling, if you ask me! Just by sitting at my desk doing some research online I’m helping to make the world a better place.

Where are the trees being planted?

Ecosia’s contributions plant trees in Burkina Faso in Africa. They have chosen this region to revive land that had previously been affected by severe droughts. Planting trees greatly helps to naturally restore the land, bringing water, plant, and animal life back to the region. This empowers the locals by creating more jobs, healthier livestock, self sufficiency, and a stronger economy. Planting trees in this region contributes to an international effort to build a “Great Green Wall” across Africa for increased overall environmental, social, and economic prosperity.

green_wall_map_en

How transparent are they as a company?

Now you may also be thinking “Ok this all sounds great, but how do I know that they are actually planting trees like they’re saying they are?” – also another valid question. Ecosia takes giving back really seriously and it is the whole basis of why they exist as a company. Available on their website you can view donation receipts for proof of the donations given to their tree planting partner (WeForest.org). Even further, you can view a breakdown of their business expenses by month. Now that’s what I call transparency!

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Like the idea but don’t want to give up the Google that you are used to?

No worries, there is a setting that you can still run a Google search while using Ecosia. You’ll still be contributing to planting trees but won’t have to sacrifice the great search results that you are used to. I told you, they really have it all covered!

Trying to set Ecosia as your default but getting a weird popup?

Now, for those ready to start helping out right away, you may have gone to set Ecosia as your default and gotten the following pop up:

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This made me stop and think twice for a second, so I want to address the details behind exactly what this means to help put anyone else’s mind at ease. Basically, Ecosia needs certain permissions in order to run as your default search engine with all of its functions, however, the CEO of Ecosia confirmed for me directly that they do NOT store or change any detailed user data or browsing history. I got the same pop up when I tried to add the Pinterest extension onto my browser as well – it’s a simple permissions confirmation that they need from the user before they alter your browser settings in order to run.

What do you guys think of this idea? Are you excited to start using Ecosia for your searches? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Ecosia's office in Berlin Kreuzberg

Ecosia’s office space in Berlin Kreuzberg

Lots of green love,

Ashley

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