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Ecosia: A Green Search Engine That Plants Trees in Brazil Contends with Google

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First Posted: Nov 12, 2013 05:37 PM EST
Brazil's National Rainforest
Brazil's National Rainforest (Photo : Photo: Flickr)

Think about how many Internet searches you do in one day. Now imagine if you changed your search engine, and every time you clicked to conduct a search you could plant a tree and help save the rain forest in Brazil. Well, it's possible though a green search engine called, Ecosia.

The German search engine, Ecosia.org, which is powered by Bing and Yahoo, allows the task of searching the Web to "double as an ecological contribution."

The Berlin-based company donates 80 percent of its advertising revenues to programs that reduce emissions and plant trees. By the end of August 2013, Ecosia had already generated nearly 1.3 million euros.

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Ecosia supports the "Plant A Billion Trees" by the Nature Conservancy program, which is working toward restoring the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.  It hopes to plant one billion native trees in the forest - currently, over 70,000 trees have been planted, due to the support of its two million users.

How can you tell how many trees you have helped plant?

The funds generated by Ecosia help to plant about one tree every minute. When you do a search with Ecosia, a personalized tree counter is displayed, which shows you how many trees you have helped plant - based on the "Plant a Billion Trees" program's calculation of one U.S. dollar per planted tree.

"The 'Plant a Billion Trees' campaign was launched by The Nature Conservancy in 2008 to restore Brazil's Atlantic Forest, which is on the brink of extinction due to pressures of urban expansion, agriculture, ranching and illegal logging," according to Ecosia's official website. "This unprecedented major restoration initiative will reforest 1 million acres and connect more than a million acres of forest remnants, creating new forest corridors to improve the resilience of this critical and degraded ecosystem.

"The effect will be improvements to important watersheds that provide clean drinking water and hydroelectricity to millions of people, plus protection for thousands of species of native plants and animals. On a global scale, the trees planted by the campaign will capture atmospheric carbon equivalent to the emissions of one million cars every year."

Can Ecosia really contend with Google?

Recently, Ecosia re-launched its search engine, which included improvements to search quality and faster loading times, that will enable it compete with Google and other established search engines.

"From now on, there's no longer a reason to search with Google," said Ecosia founder, Christian Kroll. "Ecosia gives you equal-caliber search results and lets you help fight climate change at the same time."

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