Ecosia: Save the Planet While You Search

This article is a guest post written by Rhiannon Morey, founder of Royal Holloway on Ecosia. Download Ecosia using this link to support the Royal Holloway on Ecosia campaign.

In case you haven’t heard of Royal Holloway on Ecosia…

We are a group of five first year students aiming to promote Ecosia – a search engine that plants trees. We want to inspire Royal Holloway, University of London to make environmentally friendly changes on campus, starting with setting Ecosia as the default search engine.

I first heard of Ecosia in 2018 whilst on holiday in Germany and I have been an avid user ever since. The more I read about the company, the more I was impressed at how much good they do on huge scales around the world, as well as offering individual benefits for the user. When I started at University, I knew it was something I wanted to bring to campus. Four other students joined me and Royal Holloway on Ecosia launched on 18th November 2019. The difference we can make could be huge if the 10,000 students and over 1,500 staff at Royal Holloway used Ecosia every day!

We are part of the officially recognised Ecosia on Campus campaign. It originally started with just 3 students at Sussex University but has now spread around the world with campaigners in Spain, France, America and Brazil, just to name a few. At the end of 2019, campaigners managed to finance the planting of over 85,000 trees! This is an incredible figure illustrating how much environmental impact students can have when working together. Here at Royal Holloway, we are so proud to be part of this international community.

The Royal Holloway on Ecosia team, on the steps of the Founder's Building at Royal Holloway, University of London.
The Royal Holloway on Ecosia campaign team

What is Ecosia, we hear you ask…

Like Google, Ecosia is a search engine that makes its money through advertisements. But instead of being a for-profit business, Ecosia donates 80% of its surplus income to tree planting projects across the globe. They have planted over 80 million trees so far and we want Royal Holloway to contribute to its goal of 1 billion trees!

The benefits of this search engine reach far beyond the environmental aspect, supporting livelihoods, habitats and restoring landscapes amongst others. For instance, Ecosia’s servers are running from their own solar energy plant meaning that Ecosia is carbon-neutral (something many companies could only dream of achieving). Not only does Ecosia use renewable energy, the planting of trees helps to remove 1 kg of CO2 from the air. Incredibly, this means that Ecosia is an almost unheard-of carbon-negative search engine. On average, trees will each remove 50 kg of CO2 during an expected 15-year lifetime. With a tree planted every second at Ecosia, the search engine could absorb 15% of all global CO2 emissions if it was as big as Google which is enough to offset vehicle emissions worldwide! What a difference that would make to the current climate crisis!

There is also a tree counter on the right side of your browser allowing users to track the number of trees you personally have contributed to.

Ecosia runs tree-planting projects where they're needed most.

As well as using profits to plant trees, the company constantly strive to help their users make environmentally friendly choices in their daily lives. One of the ways they do this is by placing a green leaf icon next to websites that are eco-friendly like those that sell sustainable products.

Last Summer, Ecosia launched their travel service (in partnership with HotelsCombined). Ecosia plants 25 trees each time a holiday is booked! To use this service, just enter “hotel” in the search bar or directly access Ecosia Travel via the “more” button on their search results page.

Ecosia also has an online shop selling t-shirts and hoodies all made with organic cotton. Each one sold plants 20 trees!

Berlin based founder of Ecosia, Christian Kroll has also made a legal commitment to protect the future of the company, ensuring that shares can’t be sold at a profit nor owned by people outside of the company and that no profits can be taken.

Ecosia is also completely financially transparent, publishing monthly financial reports so users can see exactly how and where profits are being spent. Along with this, users can stay updated on tree planting projects in areas such as Burkina Faso, Peru and Madagascar (mainly biodiversity hotspots) through regular video and blog updates so you can see for yourselves the good they achieve. Ecosia also protects your privacy. They don’t sell your data to advertisers, have no 3rd party trackers and anonymize all data within a week. What more could you want from a search engine?

Here are just some of the ways trees benefit our world…

  • The most powerful CO2 absorbers are trees
  • Trees help mitigate climate change
  • Water cycles can be restored by trees
  • Trees stop the spread of deserts
  • Barren land is transformed back into productive forests and farmland by tree planting
  • Trees grow fresh produce
  • Trees help shape landscapes and build up deforested areas
  • The strong roots can stabilize shorelines and mountain sides
  • Trees help restore degraded lands and allow people to flourish off their land instead of moving in search of better living conditions
  • Trees provide us with clean oxygen
  • Local men and women are able to find stable jobs and earn their own income to help stabilize political and economic conditions in developing countries. As a result of this money, parents can afford to send their children to school, buy medicine and build houses
  • Trees provide a habitat for endangered animal species around the world, supporting biodiversity

How Royal Holloway can help…

As a campaign, we will endeavor to spread the word about Ecosia and try to persuade the University to make the switch by setting Ecosia as the default search engine on campus.

While the business is truly remarkable, they can only make a difference because of people like you. The good news is that by just searching the internet, you can actually help the environment from the comfort of your own home for free! Use our campaign’s unique URL to download Ecosia TODAY on your devices here. This URL allows our team to track the number of trees planted by our University and we look forward to seeing the number of trees grow!

Like our Facebook page and follow our Instagram for updates on events and for more information about Ecosia.

Please tell all your friends and family about this initiative – with the help and support of everyone at Royal Holloway, we can make it the default search engine. Show our University that its students care about the future of our planet.

The urgency of the climate crisis is something that cannot be ignored. This is something tangible that we can do to make a difference, as individuals and as a University.

Thank you and Happy Tree Planting!

Royal Holloway on Ecosia official campaign logo