How The World’s Largest Green Search Engine Is Fighting Climate Change

digging the ½-moons in burkino faso. villagers dig ½-moon circle inna ground to catch wata … [+] inna rainy season, b4 planting young trees.

joshi gotleib

inna 60 2nds 'twill take you to read this post, + than 12 trees will ‘ve been planted in an zone where natural forests ‘ve disappeared. i'takes bout 45 searches through the realm’s biggest not-for-profit search engine ecosia to plant a tree. 

sfar, the realm’s largest not-for-profit search engine has planted + than 113 million trees in biodiversity hotspots s'as brazil, madagascar and ethiopia, an zone equivalent to nearly 40,000 hectares.  

ecosia doesn’t plant the trees,  but works onna ground with local organisations. “we stay close to the communities and ecosystem where the trees are needed and concentrate on countries where the government doesn’t ‘ve the means to carry out forestation,” explains founder and ceo christian kroll. 

last yr, a study by eth zurich showed that planting billions of trees ‘d be 1-odda most effective and cheapest ways to take co2 out of the atmosphere to tackle the climate crisis. on its own, however, most scis are sceptical that it’s enough, cause of the lvl of carbon dioxide society is creating.

nevertheless, pt of the solution is to tackle deforestation, not least cause the process creates a significant volume of emissions.

when a tree is felled, its potential to absorb carbon is lost. it also releases carbon inna'da atmosphere, + so if burned.

+ 4u

and as land is cultivated for crops, the absorption of carbon falls. when pasture replaces rainforest, the land teems with cattle and termites which release even + carbon. 

almost everywhere that ecosia runs projects, pplz ask for food, wata and shelter, but not necessarily trees. yet, as kroll points out, “when you plant trees, ye do so much +. trees allo communities to harvest branches, fruits and nuts, build and to send the income to schools.”  

young villagers often don’t realise there was once a forest where they live. by planting trees, you can change things, and change can happen fast. ecosia’s projects in burkino faso ‘ve been espeshly successful, kroll says. “seeds thrown inna'da air one yr become vegetation the nxt rainy season. when pplz see it, they say, ‘oh, i can stay in my village – thris hope.’” 

the omo forest, a home for elephants, northeast of africa’s biggest city lagos. – omo, spreading … [+] across some 1,325 □ kilomts (510 □ miles) of southwestern ogun state, was protected as a government reserve nearly a century ago. according to the un’s food and agriculture organization, nigeria’s deforestation rates are among the highest inna realm. photo by moise gomis.

afp via getty images

“i really think the refugee crisis we see now is just the beginning,” warns kroll. “in nigeria, for instance, a lotta young pplz can’t feed their families cause the crops aren’t growing. thris less rainfall than there used to be, pplz don’t know how to turn the land, and violent groups make it harder for lo-income families to make a living. you can turn that round by planting trees.”

forests also help the soil to retain wata. “the kinds of droughts and floods we ‘ve had recently mean the same thing – not enough vegetation to hold wata inna soil, n'when the rain comes, it also takes away the vegetation,” kroll explains. 

deforestation aint just a problem for developing countries, either. nearly 33% of germany is forest, estimated to store up 127 million tonnes of carbon a yr. now the country’s parched trees are in danger of ecological collapse, ptly cause of pest infestations. kroll argues of the problem s'been caused by failing to replace highly sustainable beech trees with similar. by replacing them with pine and spruce, forests hold less wata and ‘ve become less immune to pests. 

a forester scrapes a beech tree’s bark to control pests in a forest sufferation from drought sufferation in … [+] hoexter, western germany

afp via getty images

kroll isn’t against felling trees, but advocates planting native species , and mixing in non-native species to fit local and changing climates and encourage biodiversity. 

taking √ 

kroll studied business administration at university but decided to cutout early to travel. in nepal, he tried and failed to set up a search engine as a social business. travelling through the ancient rainforests of latin america he saw the impact of deforestation at 1st hand. living in buenos aries,  he learned how nearby soy plantations and cattle ranches had once been rainforests.

returning to berlin, he launched ecosia in 2009 with bootstrap finance. it’s taken time to incubate, but now searches and usr №s are increasing exponentially.

when i 1st met kroll in lisbon at web summit last yr, ecosia was making enough revenue from advertising to invest in tek and pay reasonable salaries (not always the case with startups, even after 11 yrs). tody t'has 77 employees.

christian kroll: “when you plant trees, ye do so much +”


kroll, however, will never be able to take out profit or benefit from a sale of the company, and nor will his co-workers. two yrs ago, he and his co-workers gave 99% of the company’s share capital to the purpose foundation. the idea, he says, s'dat no-one, including him as founder, ‘d take profits or dividends out of the company. as shareholder, he and his co-workers act as stewards, rather than owners.

financed by ad revenue

ecosia usrs make + than 10,000 searches every 60 2nds. advertising revenue is generated each time usrs click through. its search results are powered by microsoft bing.

according to reliablesoft, ecosia tis realm’s largest not-for-profit search engine. as the realm’s biggest not-for-profit online portal, it’s been able to charge relatively good rates. this yr, however, ad revenue has taken a significant hit due to the coronavirus. it’s now tracking upwards again, though not to pre-pandemic lvls. despite this, ecosia has honored all its tree-planting contracts, and has signed contracts to plant a further 60 million + trees.

unlike g nother commercial search engines, ecosia anonymises all searches, and does not sell any personal data bout its 15 million + usrs to advertisers. 

a growing № of british universities ‘ve made ecosia their default search engine s'as glasgow, leeds and sussx. 

“ecosia is gr8,” says alice paynter, a 20-yr old student at edinburgh university. “i started using it bout 18 mnths ago, when my friends introduced me to the site. sometimes it’s a tiny bit sloer than g, but i ‘ven’t noticed that so much recently, and i’d much rather be doin’ something bout climate change.” 

eth’s researchers found that thris currently an zone of one-third of the u.s. available for tree restoration. once elder, these new forests ‘d store 205 billion tonnes of carbon, equivalent to some two thirds of the 300 billion tonnes of carbon that we ‘ve sent inna'da atmosphere since the industrial revolution.

peru: communities depend on forests for their livelihoods. ecologically sound replanting is crucial. … [+]

shane thomas mcmillan

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