Ecosia: Plant trees while you search the web

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Hailed as the worlds ‘greenest search engine” Ecosia donates 80% of its ad revenue to planting trees in Burkina Faso in Africa, bringing water, plants and animals back to drought-ridden areas.

The revived land means more jobs, healthier livestock and more independent people. A stronger local economy allows both women and men to earn their own income, meaning more children can go to school.

So how does it work? In theory its all very simple: You search the web with Ecosia. Search ads generate income for Ecosia. Then Ecosia uses this income to plant trees.

Ecosia

Ecosia’s goal is to grow 1 billion trees by 2020 and the new forests that are planted form part of the international effort to build a “Great Green Wall” across Africa for increased environmental, social and economic prosperity.

Stretching all the way from Senegal on Africa’s east coast right across to Eritrea in the West and backed by the World Bank and the African Union, the “Great Green Wall” initiative has the potential revolutionize the ecological and socioeconomic face of the continent.

Founded in 2009 by Christian Kroll, Ecosia previously worked with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to support a rainforest project in the Amazon through its partnership with US environmental organization The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

Now the attention is on Burkina Faso.

Decades of drought have devastated parts of Burkina Faso. Without water, neither people nor plants or animals have been able to survive, relegating more and more of this once-fertile land to desert. Famine, disease and violent conflict have been just some of the overwhelming consequences.

Since Ecosia’s founding, the search engine has planted more than 4 million trees around the world, most recently in Burkina Faso in Africa and has generated over 2.5 million Euros for forestry programs since December 2009.

Transparency is a big deal for the company and since skepticism isn’t uncommon when companies claim to funnel funds to good causes and as a result Ecosia publishes all of its receipts and donation statements online as an attempt to maintain full transparency.

The other 20% of Ecosia’s income is claimed to be used to neutralize the CO2 emissions of its web search as well as maintain the company operations and growth.

Why trees? Well Ecosia believe that by planting trees across Bakina Faso they can help restart the water cycle in areas where the desert has taken over. Communities learn to care for the new forests and harvest them sustainably.

Trees bring other vegetation that helps filter the air, slowing the spread of disease. Cleaner water and food make for healthier people and livestock.

What is more, trees create empowering earning opportunities for women and men. Double-income households mean more children can attend school.

“We want to create a world where the environment no longer needs protecting,” the company says on its website.

To find out more or to start using Ecosia, visit Ecosia.org

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Video Credit: Ecosia

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  • Jacey Bingler

    Thanks for this amazing article, people, we’re really excited you shared us! Since September 2014 we’ve been planting trees in Burkina Faso with WeForest, though. Could you maybe update that? The pictures at the top of the article were taken on one of our planting sites in Burkina Faso, too. Our current goal is to plant 1 billion trees all over the world, Burkina Faso might be too small for so many trees 🙂 Best and many thanks, Jacey from Ecosia