As of mid June 2017, the people behind a website called Ecosia have planted 9,263,045 trees, and that number is growing exponentially as you read this.
How does this work, you might ask? Ecosia.org is a search engine that is very similar to Google. What’s the difference? The folks who run Ecosia use the majority of their ad revenue to plant trees. Ecosia functions exactly like any other search engine, but 80 percent of the site’s profits go toward different tree-planting programs. (Those are currently active in Burkina Faso, Peru, and Madagascar).
As an Ecosia user, you can even keep track of how many trees have been planted on your behalf by way of a counter that appears in the corner of the web page. Every month, Ecosia’s staff publish proof of how they spend the company’s revenue, showing exactly where the money was spent and how many trees were planted.
Ecosia is an important website when it comes to people wanting to help save the planet, but not really knowing where to start. Nowadays, people generally don’t want to change much about their daily lives even if it’s for such a worthwhile cause as helping the environment. But setting up Ecosia as your default browser is really a minor change and doing that can make a huge difference.
The College of Charleston is focusing a lot on sustainability and sustainability literacy these days, and using Ecosia is just another way for students to become more involved in that initiative. Trees are a key factor to mitigating climate change — they are basically the superheroes of the planet. They provider habitat for a variety of species and absorb carbon dioxide emissions that are more prominent now than ever with our society’s increasing use of fossil fuels.
If you were to search online using Ecosia three times a day for a year, that would mean 1,095 search requests a year. Since a new tree is planted for every 56 searches on average (you can find more information on that here), you alone could finance 19.5 real trees every year. Now imagine if just 500 people at the College were informed about Ecosia and started to contribute by using it as well. That activity would result in 9,750 trees planted in a year. And if 5,000 members of the College of Charleston community installed Ecosia as a default search engine, then 97,500 trees would be planted in a year. If every student at The College were to use it on a daily basis, then imagine the amount of trees that could be planted each year!
Don’t just imagine – make it happen.
This blog post was written by Helen Vermillion, a sophomore. This spring, she sent a proposal to President McConnell urging him to have the College adopt Ecosia as its official search engine.