Everyday there are billions of searches done online with most searches being made on Google. A lot of search engines like Google use your search results to improve their products and give more services to its user. But what if I told you that you could help the planet by searching too? This is where Ecosia comes in! In this post I will be reviewing Ecosia and how they work, the projects they do and how you can spread the word!
“The Ecosia search engine has one aim, to save the planet through planting trees with the help of YOUR online searches.”
What Is Ecosia?
Ecosia is a search engine with one aim, to save the planet through planting trees in many places around the world. Beside planting trees, they aim to help farmland and animal habitats in places like Spain, Indonesia to Morocco, which have many impacts on the local ecosystem.
On the Ecosia blog, you can find updates on their campaigns and videos via their YouTube channel. Currently there are over 7 million active users using Ecosia which have helped plant over 35 million trees. A lot of information on Ecosia found on the website and you can learn more here! The video below from the Ecosia YouTube channel describes what Ecosia is all about.
Ecosia works on projects around the world in areas affected by deforestation and global warming. Even if many projects focus on planting trees, they have worked with others to help local farmers and wildlife too. Below are a few examples of ongoing projects Ecosia are engaging with:
Eden Reforestation Projects
Through one of the blog updates, content creator Joshi talks about how a man named Moses is saving Chimpanzees through planting trees. Significantly, these stores help tell a story about the journey Ecosia is going on while saving the planet. Another point about these stories is that it shows that our searches have meaning. All project stories are found on their blog by clicking here! It is clear, Ecosia want to help both people and wild life along planting trees.
Another example of an Ecosia project is in Madagascar where a similar restoration project is happening.
Luckily, Ecosia makes sure to share photographs of their projects, which allows us to understand the handwork Ecosia does. The picture above shows that Ecosia have planted a whole array of trees across a treeless area, which will allow animals to thrive in the future.
In addition to planting trees, Ecosia works to create renewable energy to run their services and electricity. Recently (7th May 2018), the CEO, Christian Kroll released wrote article on how they are using clean energy to tackle CO2 and the use of fossil fuels.
Other than planting trees, Mozilla has made Ecosia an official search engine choice in Germany. It may not be a planting tree project, but it does show that Ecosia wants to get more people to support these reforestation projects.
How Does Ecosia Work?
The way they raise funds is through advertising on the browser, although these aren’t spam adverts or anything dangerous to your computer. All the advertisements per Ecosia search are safe and aim to raise funds in a gentle way via small text advertisements. It usually takes up to 45 searches for Ecosia to plant one tree with a counter keeping track of your searches in the top right corner.
Recently in an interview with the founder of Ecosia, Christian Kroll (found here) was asked “How does Ecosia make money?” he responded:
“Like Google, we show you search results as well as some small text advertisements. When you click on one of those advertisements, we get paid by the advertiser and use that money to plant trees. Depending on what you’re searching for, we can make anything from a few cents to a few euros per ad-click. If you want to know exactly how much money we’ve earned, you can have a look at our financial reports which we publish every month.“
The comment made here clearly emphasises how the little things we do can impact the planet. Obviously, we don’t always thing of these things but I feel Ecosia is doing a great job of changing our attitudes towards our actions. It also shows that Ecosia is wants to gain our trust, so that more people can help save the planet.
Fortunately, Ecosia releases monthly financial reports meaning you can see what exactly Ecosia is spending money on. It is great that they offer these as people want to know where money actually goes. Whilst they don’t necessarily collect donations, they do sell merchandise and use ad revenue to fund Ecosia projects. Between 40-55% of ad-revenue collected gets spent on planting more trees. Ecosia then spends what is left on raising awareness and covering running costs, like paying staff and travel expenses. Posting regular reports can create trust and this is exactly what Ecosia wants as they want us to hold them accountable on their journey.
How Do You Get Ecosia?
Simply set Ecosia as your default homepage and install the website plugin for browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Alternatively, if you’re using a Smartphone, you can install the app and set that as your default search engine. Once you have installed these be sure to disable your ad-blocker as this can stop Ecosia from planting trees but Ecosia will tell you to turn it off if you haven’t already.
Ecosia Search Engine Review
It manages searches the way you expect without all the extra advertisements and details bombarding your screen. You can search on the web, maps, images, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and many other ways. What is also good is the option to use filters and change search settings to your preferences (time, date, country, etc.).
However, some of the features like maps aren’t ran by Ecosia but it will redirect you to Google maps instead, this way you have access to all the features to get searches done all in one place. I tend to stick to web searching but occasionally use the other services Ecosia offers.
However, I rarely use the filter and settings to adjust my search preferences as there aren’t many options to choose from due to it being fairly simplistic. Overall, the searching is simple which allows ease of use for anyone using the search engine. Whilst it doesn’t have the added bonus of email and other services, Ecosia has all the relevant features to suit the searching needs for almost everyone.
In addition, search results sometimes come with small text advertisements and like on Google, they will appear near the top of your search results. But this isn’t necessarily bad as clicking on these advertisements can help raise money to plant a tree almost instantly. Advertisements are also visible on the right hand side of your web search, which helps keep adverts feel less cluttered.
Ecosia honestly does a great job with advertisements because they don’t use banners and video advertisements when you make web searches. Small text advertisements also allow the searches to feel more natural because they almost blend into the page
Keeping Track of Trees Planted
Unfortunately, there is no way to know how many trees you have actually planted due to the counter only showing recorded searches. Whilst Ecosia could try to add a more accurate count its difficult as different advertisements and website links pay differently.
Finally, the Ecosia search engine app allows user to use Ecosia on the go. Ecosia is one of the first alternative search engines to release an app. In regards to the Ecosia app interface it is simple and provides a familiar design to other search engine apps. Most features like incognito mode, bookmarks and Ecosia total tree count are available on the app.
Ways Ecosia Would Have a Huge Impact
There are many ways Ecosia could have a larger impact. One of these ways is by using public Ecosia on computers. Obviously, if computers were to have Ecosia as the default browser in educational institutions and other public spaces. Clearly by asking your school or social space to install Ecosia would get people planting trees without knowing..
Similarly, putting Ecosia on your home computer will get everyone in your household helping plant trees. Fortunately, Ecosia is available on most mobile devices and desktop computers as apps.
Talk to Your Friends
Hopefully, we all have friends to talk to so why not tell them about Ecosia? Spread the word on your social media accounts, tell your friends in person, even tell your colleagues! One way to spread the word is to bringing your experiences with Ecosia into conversation. If all doesn’t go to plan try doing your own tree planting project – do your own thing.
In conclusion, Ecosia provides a simple searching experience with all the features expected from a search engine. It has a positive aim to help the planet by planting trees from the revenue collected from searches. I wish Ecosia the best with their future projects!