An Internet Search Engine that Plants Trees


Bert Kaufmann / cc-by-2.0
Autumn trees in Dresden.

The cloud-computing industry, a huge and rapidly growing area of the technology sector, has been making headlines recently. A report by Greenpeace called ”Clicking Clean: How Companies are Creating the Green Internet” has thrown the spotlight on energy usage by the cloud-computing industry. While Apple, Google, and Facebook are leading the charge by switching to and using renewable energy, Twitter and Amazon Web Services (AWS) received a fail for their heavy reliance on fossil fuels such as coal. AWS, which provides a platform for Pinterest, Netflix, and Tumblr, has especially one of the dirtiest footprints of all of the companies looked at.

One technology company has set out from the start to make energy usage and the environment their core philosophy. Ecosia, a Berlin-based startup, is a carbon-neutral web search engine. Ecosia neutralizes all CO2 emissions for their web searches and server infrastructure by offsetting using a Gold Standard Project in Madagascar run by www.myclimate.org. Ecosia also donates 80 percent of its income to planting trees in Brazil. Every search a user does equals one tree. With over 200,000 active users a day, about 40,000 trees have already been planted—roughly one tree per minute. Since 2010, nearly $1.7 million has been contributed by Ecosia to conservation.

In 2013, Ecosia entered into a two-year partnership with the Nature Conservancy for the ”Plant a Billion Trees” program. This program was created by the Nature Conservancy in 2008 to help restore Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, which is on the brink of extinction due to illegal logging, agriculture, and widening urban development. This partnership will help reforest 1 million acres, reconnect more than a million acres of remnant forest, improve watersheds, and also provide protection to thousands of native plants and animals.

Get searching here: http://www.ecosia.org/