Search engines are so engrained in our daily lives that one particular engine has become synonymous with the very act of searching online. And, more than that, many folks also rely on their search engine of choice for other internet-based services and platforms — such as browsers, maps and email.
One engine, Ecosia, isn't likely to become your new term for searching or help you out with a heap of other online services, and it's completely fine with that. Instead, the Berlin-based company is using at least 80 percent of its profits to benefit the planet, investing the revenue it receives from advertising into planting new trees.
First founded back in 2009, the search engine has been gaining traction over the past decade, to the point that it has now planted more than 27 million trees around the world. The company is hoping that number will grow considerably by 2020, too, with a target of one billion trees. It claims that an average Ecosia user helps finance 41 trees per year, with a new tree funded every 1.1 seconds.
And, if you're wondering if they actually follow through with their eco-conscious promise, the company publishes its monthly financial reports and tree planting receipts online — so you can see that your clicks and queries are making a difference. The cash it doesn't put towards new trees is used to pay its staff.
As for the specifics, Ecosia supports projects inparticular forest ecosystems that desperately needed new greenery, committing its funds to areas that rank in the 25 most threatened forests — where at least 70 percent of the original natural vegetation has been lost, for example. Peru, Indonesia, Madagascar, Tanzania and the African nation of Burkina Faso are among the locations currently supported thanks to a few simple keystrokes. Who knew just searching for "ways to help the environment" could actually help the environment?