ecosia

Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at dhruvika@buzzonearth.com. Sometimes she reads her emails too.

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As we continue to advance with technology, there is an ever growing list of things that are just a click away. Need some information? Shopping some clothes? Buying groceries? Need to pay your bills? Need to plant trees? Wait, what? How is internet planting trees for you? Well, Ecosia is a search engine that plant trees when you search the web.

Ecosia is a web search engine, like Google or Yahoo which donates 80% of its income to non-profit conservationist organizations, with a focus on planting trees. Ecosia claims that it has planted more than 40 million trees till now.

The eco-friendly search engine is based in Berlin, Germany. The search engine at launch originally provided a combination of search results from Yahoo!, technologies from Bing and Wikipedia. Ads were delivered by Yahoo! as part of a revenue-sharing agreement with Ecosia. The search engine also used to provide Google searches but with no generated revenue for Ecosia.

Ecosia shows advertisements next to its search results, and are paid by their partners at Bing for every click on a sponsored link for having directed users to their advertisers. Considering that not every Ecosia user clicks on an ad every time they search, Ecosia states that on average a search raises around half a Euro cent (0.005 EUR).

The web engine also raises funds through its second product EcoLinks, a Browser Extension that allows users to donate for free to Ecosia through their online purchases. Operators of online shops pay a commission to Ecosia (usually a rate between 2 and 10%) if a user lands on their shop through clicking on an EcoLink and purchases an item or any service.

Ecosia has donated to various tree-planting programs. Launched in December 2009, until December 2010, Ecosia’s donations went to a program by WWF Germany that protected the Juruena National Park in the Amazon basin.

After that, it donated to Plant a half million Trees program run by the Nature Conservancy for 4 years. The program was aimed to restore the Brazilian Atlantic Forest by planting 1 million native trees by 2015.

This year, Ecosia has more than 7 million users. It is Ecosia’s mission to plant 1 billion trees by 2020. They have planted trees across 10 countries in Europe, Central, and South America, Asia, and Africa.

Who would have thought doing your part for the environment would be so easy?

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