I use a search engine every single day, multiple times a day, and I would bet that you do too. I would also bet that everyone you know uses a search engine multiple times a day. Looking up the menu of a new restaurant, checking to see what movies are out, searching for your nearest recycling center (…nudge…); we use the internet to look up everything. In fact, I just did a search for how many searches are done every day. Spoiler: a lot. The number for Google alone is a staggering 63,000 searches per second. Per second! That is 2 trillion a year.
Of course, all of those searches come with ads, and with ads come ad revenue. Ad revenue is generally used for expenses like marketing, operating costs, all the usual suspects, and frankly, that makes total sense; but what if there was a search engine who used some of that revenue to help the planet? Well, there is. Ecosia is an add on search engine that uses about 47% of their revenue to combat desertification. Specifically, Ecosia plants Acacia trees in Burkina Faso.
Acacia trees are hardy and can thrive in many soil types. These large umbrella trees are generally found in Africa, and the image is pretty identifiable. It’s one of those trees where, when you see it, you will recognize it instantly. The Acacia shed leaves during the rainy season, regrowing during the dry season, meaning surrounding crops that are dormant during those long dry days are not fighting for sunlight. These leaves, once fallen, are also a great source of Nitrogen. The chlorophyll molecule is involved in creating food for the plant, and gives plants the nice green color we all know and love. All this is to say, they are really great for the surrounding ecosystem.
Ecosia was founded in 2009, and since then, they have planted 57,309,770 trees. That number is rising as I type! Although they are powered by Bing, a Microsoft product, which is working towards 60% renewable energy in their data centers by 2020, and Google by comparison is using 100% renewable energy in their data centers currently, I still personally see the ground level change with Ecosia worth it. Crop growth, tree planting, turning the tables on climate change, and hopefully putting a stop to desertification are reason enough to make use of Ecosia when I can.