By Kate Jeong
If you walk around the streets of downtown Houston, you’ll see signs and posters screaming at you to “SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT!” It’s all meant to stir a sense of urgency inside us to do something. In most, it makes a feeble “Oh, yeah, right. We should.” kind of thought- but we don’t actually do anything about it. People still litter, don’t recycle, and still use more paper than necessary. In short, people- we- are still hurting the environment.
However, there is a simple solution that shows great potential. It is called Ecosia, a free search engine developed in Berlin, Germany, that plants a tree for every 45 searches you do. Our generation was born with the world’s information with a single search- now it’s time to search for a greater purpose.
First and foremost, they are not scamming people. The company uploads a receipt and financial report of how they use their profits to pay for planting trees regularly. They also have a blog (blog.ecosia.org), where they update their tree projects.
Ecosia, like everything, has some negative reviews. Some believe that they are hijackers, selling information to third party companies for profit; but you should also keep in mind those comments have also been directed towards other major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Critics also dislike the facts Ecosia places ads next to search results, but that is how they gain revenue to pay for the trees they plant.
So, are they a legit company? In my personal view with knowledge based on thorough research, I believe that, yes, you can trust them.
Why should you participate? Our earth is your earth- it belongs to you, too. Global warming is real and is progressing fast. Experts have announced that about 1.5 trillion trees need to be planted to alter the tremendous amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and even then there’s limited time until it’s unchangeable. Ecosia, now ten years old, has planted over 67 million trees and counting. It’s quite shy from achieving a trillion, but anything helps. Besides, being online is something many of us do already on a regular basis.
Ecosia is also user-friendly, and are doing something to do something that matters. They have planted trees all over the world in fourteen countries, such as Brazil, Peru, Madagascar, and much more. They have a tracker below the search box where they keep a tally of how many trees they’ve planted so far with their eight million and counting users. I myself use the site, and I am proud to say I’ve planted 47 trees! Anyone can truly make a difference – and it’s this simple. If you have Chrome on your laptop or PC, then it’s a simple click to add the extension. On mobile, they have a free app that does the exact same thing. Additionally, if you find the right thing, clicking on the first website that shows up on your search also gives some revenue to the non-profit.
It’s a small sacrifice you could make to make an impact on your world. While you’re searching up questions on math problems or looking up how to bake a chocolate chip cookie, you could be planting trees. There is no Plan(et) B- Earth is our only one, and you can help save it.