Ecosia: The Tree-Planting Search Engine Fighting Climate Change That Doesn’t Sell Your Data

3 Mins Read

It’s time to say goodbye to Google. Welcome Ecosia, a greener search engine that actually plants trees while you search for web results. The free search engine uses the revenue generated from advertisements as well as a promised 80% of its profits for tree planting and reforestation programs around the world. 

Founded in 2009 as a social business, Ecosia is a German company that uses a large sum of its profits to plant trees all around the world in order to fight climate change, biodiversity loss and support local agriculture. True to their sustainability mission, the company has also promised to operate in a carbon neutral fashion, using solar energy to power web searches. They provide full transparency by publishing receipts as proof of financial support, and are a certified B Corporation that adheres to social and environmental accountability standards. Working with local partners, Ecosia has planted over 60 million trees through 20 projects across 15 different countries as of June 2019.

For many of us, this is a simple switch that causes little to no disruption to your daily habits, but can produce change for the planet. In the midst of our climate emergency, planting trees has become an important part of how we can keep our global temperatures down. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revealed recently that stopping global warming will require transforming inefficient land management systems and food production methods. This was reiterated in a further report that emphasised the need to allow our forests to regenerate. Planting trees, which absorb carbon dioxide, can help fight climate change. Beyond converting our greenhouse gases, trees also play an important role in preventing soil erosion, regulate water cycles and are vital to the health of ecosystems. 

Commenting on the actions that we must take, Caterina Brandmayr from Green Alliance said: “We need to act now to plant new forests, restore our ecosystems, [and] eat less meat.”

Ecosia, which boasts 7 million monthly active users, is also a safer search engine for those concerned about privacy. Unlike most popular web engines, Ecosia operates much like the privacy-protecting internet search engine DuckDuckGo (DDG). Avoiding the filter bubble of personalised search results, Ecosia does not create personal profiles based on your search history. There is no selling of data involved and no external third-party tracking tools. All collected information that Ecosia stores is encrypted before being completely anonymised within one week. Users also have the option to opt out of all tracking in their browser settings. 

There has been global outcry at the lack of action that governments have taken to fight climate change, exemplified in the recent scandal engulfing Brazil’s President Bolsonaro to fight illegal clearing of the Amazonian rainforest. Many have retweeted to spread awareness, but if you aren’t quite ready to take more drastic measures yet (reducing meat and dairy intake!), making the simple switch to a greener search engine is an easy way to do what you can for our planet. 

TAKE ACTION: Add Ecosia to your browser.

Lead image courtesy of Ecosia.


  • Sally Ho

    Sally Ho is Green Queen's former resident writer and lead reporter. Passionate about the environment, social issues and health, she is always looking into the latest climate stories in Hong Kong and beyond. A long-time vegan, she also hopes to promote healthy and plant-based lifestyle choices in Asia. Sally has a background in Politics and International Relations from her studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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