The New Eco-friendly Server: ECOSIA

Can you contribute to fighting climate change while using your cellphone? Ecosia says you can.

Ecosia is a search engine based in Berlin. It was founded in 2009 by Christian Kroll. How does it work? When you search a website with Ecosia, the ads generate income for Ecosia, which are used to plant trees. It takes about 45 searches to “have enough money” to plant a tree.

Ecosia.org is a certified B corporation that donates 80% or more of its profits to non-profit organizations that focus on reforestation. The tree-planting project is unique and it is supporting different countries on four continents. According to Ecosia, each search on their site removes approximately 1kg of CO₂ from the atmosphere.

Ecosia has become popular in the past 11 years. The 8 million active users gave Ecosia a total revenue of about CAD $13 million. The website maintains a running total of the number of trees planted: over 88 million trees were planted at time of publication.

Ecosia has a completely transparent policy: each user can easily check the Ecosia monthly financial report and follow where the income is invested. Kroll doesn’t want to profit from the server. According to Wikipedia, founder Christian Kroll announced that he has given part of his shares over to the Purpose Foundation. As a result, Kroll and his co-owner Tim Schumacher gave up their right to sell Ecosia or take any profits out of the company.

The trees Ecosia is helping to plant have many environmental benefits, such as preventing erosion, restoring the soil, or creating new livable habitats for animals. About every 0.8sec, Ecosia plants a tree somewhere around the world with the income from searches on their site. The environment is the main purpose of this search engine. This is also the reason why their servers are totally run with renewable energy, making Ecosia a CO₂ neutral company. Ecosia is building new solar plants as its user base grows.

Ecosia is a free alternative to Google. If it was as big as Google, it could absorb 15% of all global CO₂ emissions, through funding the planting of trees.

Kroll has said, “We as a society must decide if we want to destroy not just our nature but also the chance of survival for the coming generations, and if we’re going to start building up ecosystems again.”

We should reflect on and understand our lifestyles. Ask yourself how can you help and what can you change in your routine: maybe there is something as easy to do as use a new browser. The change depends on us, the change is us. Adding many small acts, we can make the difference.

by Alice Barlaam

March 19, 2020

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Published by Alice Barlaam

Alice Barlaam is a 12th grade International Italian student at Sir John A. MacDonald High School in Halifax.

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