Ecosia Lets You Plant Trees With Your Online Search

The following article is a sponsored collaboration between the search social enterprise Ecosia that plants trees with your daily search and the Ethical Writers’ and Creatives’ Coalition, where I am a member. I was paid to write this article for the blog. However, I only accept sponsored collaborations with brands that uphold the ethical and environmental ethos of this blog, and which I think you will enjoy reading about. This helps to support the cost of running this blog. 

There have long been discussions about the dominance of certain players in the online space, and what that means for democratic access to the the web. The internet has become essential in the modern world and how we work, do business, and socialise. But in any space where one player is dominant, there are worries for what that position of power means. Especially when that organisation is owned by private investors, rather than community owned, or owned under a framework that requires certain ethical standards. The recent news that Facebook and Twitter have significant investments from Russian institutions close to Putin has me thinking about the ethical concerns we have about large dominant players in the online space. While we do not know if Google and other online players have any such ties in their investor base, now seems a very pertinent time to be seeking out ethical alternatives to dominant market players in our online world.

So when I find an online tool which is an alternative that seeks to make a positive impact for the environment and society, it is an easy switch for me. This is where Ecosia comes in. Ecosia  offers an ethical alternative with which you can conduct your online search. Ecosia is a social enterprise that uses ad revenue to plant trees. So basically, every time you search, if you click on an ad that you see, Ecosia will receive ad revenue, and with this they use about 80% of their surplus revenue to fund  tree planting projects in Indonesia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Peru, and Nicaragua. You can find detailed information about these tree planting projects, including frequent project updates and transparency reports, if you visit the Ecosia website. As of October 2017, Ecosia have calculated that they have funded the planting of 15 million trees!

Deforestation is the second largest contributor to climate change, after the burning of fossil fuels. All the trees removed from the ecosystem reduce the planet’s ability to take carbon out of the atmosphere, and a great deal of carbon is released in the process of deforestation. But reforestation does the reverse. Any project or service that enables individuals to generate funding for reforestation projects is a important positive action that we can take in the fight against climate change. Reforestation efforts also reduce desertification and protect the soils, support biodiversity, improve food security, and offer a fuel source for cooking, which can be essential for avoiding malnutrition in many developing rural communities.

Aside from having a robust and transparent social and environmental mission, Ecosia is also certified B Corp, which means that they are legally bound to consider the impact on workers, society and environment in all their business decisions. This ethical framework for businesses offers and important alternative to typical mainstream companies, who are only legally bound to maximise shareholder profit. We have seen clearly that this mainstream framework is not working for people or planet. B Corporation and social enterprise models are essential alternatives with which we can transform the way that we do business in the 21st Century. As ethical consumers, we can do our part by supporting B Corps and social enterprises in our daily life as much as we can.

So for a simple switch which makes a positive impact on the climate, pop over to Ecosia and start using their search tool. You can also download the browser extension that will make Ecosia the default search tool. I use the search tool almost daily, and have found the switch to be seamless. This may be the easiest habit change that you can do for the environment today! Take 5 minutes now to download the browser extension and you won’t need to think about it again.

Tech tools like Ecosia will help us build to a fairer and more sustainable world. This is one sustainable change that I would not hesitate to recommend to all of my readers.