On the 13th of February 2019, the search engine Ecosia announced they had planted 50 million treessince the project’s foundation in 2014. That means 60 hectares of land were restored and 2.5 million tons of CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere once the trees mature.
It was Christian Kroll who, in December 2009, founded Ecosia and turned the common and often over-looked act of browsing the internet into something deeply meaningful.
The idea came when Kroll, who’s from Germany, went on a trip around the world shortly after graduating from college. One of his stops was South America, where he learned about how devastating deforestation is to different ecosystems. Right then and there he decided that trees would be the main focus of his work.
Having previously worked on some web based projects with his roommates, Christian already had some knowledge about the workings of search engines. This made it easier for him to come up with the concept for Ecosia.
But how exactly does browsing the web lead to the planting of millions of trees? Well, Ecosia sells ad space on their search engine. They then use that income to support various non-profit organizations throughout the world who are dedicated to planting trees. On average 45 searches are needed to plant one tree.
And the impact of their work goes far beyond the reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere. By strategically planting in forests like the Amazon, in Brazil, where different patches of land are being cleared for cattle holding, they are creating natural corridors which allow animals to migrate without putting their lives at risk by crossing areas outside of their habitat. In short, they assure biodiversity by protecting many endangered animal species.
Don’t think that planting trees only benefits the environment and animals though. These trees also provide shade which improves the quality of the soil, and this helps vegetables grow. As trivial as that may seem, it actually allows local communities to not only live off the land, but also to sell the produce, giving them a stable job. In developing countries this means better living conditions and the possibility for parents to send their children to school and buy the medicine they need to survive.
Bonus: The shocking numbers of deforestation
Although it’s easy to acknowledge deforestation as an environmental problem, sometimes it’s hard to fathom how serious it really is. From 1990 to 2016, 502,000 square miles (1.3 million square kilometers) of forests across the world have been destroyed. That is an area larger than South Africa. If we don’t act fast, soon 80% of land animals and plants that inhabit forests will have their lives threatened, and many, like the orangutan and the Sumatran tiger, might become extinct.
Ecosia’s goal is to plant one billion trees. Will you join them on their quest? Let us know in the comments!