Sat, Dec 28, 2019 3-minute read


Building awareness

The search engine that plants trees.

As we welcome 2020, lets acknowledge that doing something to help make our planet more sustainable is worth our time and effort.

Not everyone need agree on this topic, but those that do and have yet to hear about Ecosia let me give you some background.

The tree planting search engine

79 million trees have been planted to date and every 0.8 seconds a new tree is planted - December 2019

Ecosia was founded in 2009 by Christian Kroll who after graduating university travelled searching for a business idea with positive social impact. It was founded as a means to fund forest regeneration through ad revenue derived from search. It is also a B Corporation.

The business is very transparent with its finances publishing its balance sheet each month. It doesnt just say it uses 80% of its profits to plant trees, it proves it. Further, the owner has two publicly stated core beliefs regarding the future and funding of the mission; to never sell and never take profits out of the company. Ecosia is a steward-owned company making a breach of either commitment illegal.

In 2019, the company became completely carbon neutral through the construction of its own solar plant. It offsets all of its servers carbon footprint through the use solar energy.

Surely the results are rubbish

The search provider backing Ecosia is Bing, though they do tweak the algorithm somewhat. Anecdotally, I have not found it to be much different than either DuckDuckGo or Google. In fact it is my mobile browser and search engine of choice.

Bing is also carbon neutral.


All the usual search engine features are available such as images, maps, videos, news with filtering options. They also offer direct searches into YouTube and Wikipedia to name a few.

If you are used to DuckDuckGo’s ‘shebangs’, its pleasing to know that Ecosia offers this feature also - not as many I should add.

The main ones to remember are:

  • #w wikipedia
  • #yt YouTube
  • #g Google
  • #a Amazon

Unique to Ecosia is its “green leaf” icon and Ecosia travel.

Ecosia travel lets you search and make accommodate bookings directly from the browser. For every booking, they pledge to plant 25 trees, though the actual number is derived from total cost of booking so it may be more, or less.

On some sites a “green leaf” may appear next to it. This denotes a business that shares the values of Ecosia. To be awarded the icon, each business must have demonstrated ecologically friendly or supply sustainable products or services. The leaf icon does not increase visibility in search rankings, nor can it be bought, only earned.

Thankfully, Ecosia respects privacy offering a service without trackers, analytics, onselling to advertisers and actually respects Do Not Track headers. Trust but verify here.

Where can I find more info

Checkout Ecosia by giving it a try below.

Search page



Keep up to date with my stuff

Subscribe to get new posts and retrospectives

Powered by Buttondown.