What is the problem?
- Currently, most schools use search engines such as Google or Bing.
- These engines are functional and deliver the expected results, but there are some key downsides to using these:
- No impact
- Neither Google or Bing make any major efforts to have a positive impact on society. They make large profits which are then retained within the companies.
Is there a solution?
- Yes, there are other search engines that can deliver equivalent result qualities, whilst using their earnings to make a meaningful impact on society.
- Ecosia is a search engine dedicated to planting trees around the world. For every 45 searches made across their platform, they fund the planting of 1 tree.
- They have recently surpassed 200M trees planted, and have made their pledge legally binding.
- In terms of terms, they’re performing better than Google and Microsoft.
- Ecosia also runs their servers on renewable energy, ensuring that they minimise any climate impact to the maximum.
- They are comitted to donating 100% of profit to climate projects, meaning they go above and beyond their tree planting pledge with other projects
- They have extreme financial transparency - just take a look
In 2021, Ecosia was actively planting trees in the following countries
- Ecosia is easy to switch to, and provides guides for organisations looking to switch here
- They also enable organisations to track their impact easily if they would like to track their overall impact.
Who’s using Ecosia?
- Some notable organisations that are using Ecosia include:
- Whilst Ecosia is the big player, they’re not the only option.
- Instead of planting a tree every 45 searches, OceanHero removes around 1 plastic bottle worth of plastic from the ocean with every 5 searches.
- How does OceanHero work?
- They are also involved in education about plastic and the construction of recycling plants.
How easy is it to use?
- Both Ecosia and OceanHero are very easy to configure as default search engines.
- For individuals, it can be changed in your browser of choice without any real effort.
- For organisations, this guide makes it easy for most setups.
What are the risks?
- For OceanHero, less is known and I cannot personally provide much insight.
- However, for Ecosia there are effectively no risks.
- Ecosia uses results sourced from Microsoft and Google, meaning quality should be equal to those provided by the standard search engines.
- These days, Ecosia is massive and can easily handle all searches, there are rarely any technical issues and it is unlikely that any major problems will occur.
- Whilst search engines can access a lot of personal information, Ecosia is generally considered more trustworthy than Microsoft or Google, and their Terms of Service provide more robust protections to users.