This browser plants trees for you

by

Lauren Stiles

Sustainability 101

July 8, 2021

Turns out you can make a positive environmental impact without doing anything you don’t normally do. You can passively remove carbon from the air just by making searches on the internet. Woah. Ecosia is a search engine that allows users to contribute to reforestation around the world, planting a tree in different parts of the globe for every 45 searches made. This sounds pretty ideal to me.

To dive deeper into the sustainability of Ecosia, let’s look at their carbon footprint. Ecosia is actually carbon NEGATIVE, meaning that they are removing more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit. In fact, all of the searches on this engine are powered by solar power systems in Germany. Nice.

Beyond looking at their own impact, Ecosia encourages its users to think critically about the environmental impact of a lot of the different organizations that they search for. They do this by highlighting organizations that are doing good things for the environment and have been assessed by Hilfswerft, Economy for the Common Good, or other ecologically focused organizations. These companies are denoted with a leaf icon when searched for. On the other hand, companies/organizations that are environmentally destructive are labeled with a fossil fuel plant icon.

This kind of labelling is quite valuable in that it has the potential to create a more collective awareness of environmental crimes that most large corporations commit regularly yet are so normalized in our society. At the same time, it can highlight sustainable alternatives that users might not have known about before. I would love to see more people using Ecosia and developing an environmental consciousness while doing so. In this way, we can all work together to hold corporations accountable! 

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