Ecosia- The Next Search Engine. (extra credit)

Ecosia is a nonprofit conservationist search engine powered by Bing that turns 80% of its income into planting trees. It is a “Social Business” which measures its success it has on people and the environment. This means the well-being of people is put before maximizing profits. Ecosia believes in the core values of diversity, justice and equal opportunity to solving the most complex systems issues. When I first heard of this search engine I couldn’t begin to understand how this could even be possible. But it is. Through advertisements! Every time someone clicks on an advertisement that is sponsored this generates revenue. Certain search words come with higher price tags depending on the ads they can generate that they relate to. It functions very similarly to Google and populates the same top links. They also collect money through another extension called “Ecolinks” which allows users to donate with their online purchases. It frequently publishes reports so users can stay updated on how their searches are contributing. In the right hand corner it counts your personal searches and clicks and equates how many trees have been planted because of your actions. It is exciting to watch your number grow (I’ve been a user for two years).The search engine actually launched in 2009 to coincide with the UN Climate talks in Copenhagen. Ecosia’s donations went to a program in Germany the WWF that protected the Juruena National Park in the Amazon Basin. In order to make sure the protection was kept up, the program also drew up and financed plans with timber companies and the local communities. They’ve continued to partner with several conservation efforts such as The Nature Conservancy and The Great Green Wall Project. Its current projects are mostly concentrated south of the equator in: Nicaragua, Peru, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Indonesia, Morocco, and Spain. Each country has a unique approach to helping restore forests. The reason Ecosia chose deforestation as a issue to tackle was all the benefits they recognized in trees. Trees provide a cooler climate, promote biodiversity, protect soil, create clean air, provide lots of useful resources for humans, and their regulation of water cycles and flood prevention. Ecosia to date has planted over 26 million trees with a goal of one billion trees by 2020.


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