Climate Tech and the Search Engine That Plants Trees
While climate change has always been an important topic, recent years have shown just how pressing the matter is. Climate related discussions are often at the forefront of legislative deal making, and more people are investing resources in industries such as cleantech and climate tech.
Many factors contribute to environmental harm; however, one in particular is deforestation. When we talk about climate change, we often understand that much of the problems are systemic and beyond individual control. Even more, often the things that individuals can do require big lifestyle changes or monetary contributions.
What if we told you that you could contribute to deforestation causes without spending a dime or your lifestyle? What if we told you that helping re-forestation is as simple as searching the web?
Enter Ecosia, a search engine that plants trees.
Founded in 2009, Ecosia is a Berlin-based company that relies on users’ searches to fund tree planting efforts across the globe.
How it works:
- User installs free Chrome extension “Ecosia”
- Once extension has been installed, user conducts a regular search as they would with any search engine
- The typical search ads that are displayed at the top of the search engine results generate income
- Ecosia disperses over 80% of this income to organizations dedicated to planting trees in areas that suffer from deforestation
While Ecosia’s “planting partners” do the action on the ground, Ecosia oversees these projects for their first 3 years to ensure that their efforts survive in the long term. This means that they help decide which seeds should be planted according to the habitat, how they can maintain and protect the plantlings, and monitor them for overall growth.
A particularly exciting aspect of the organization is how they get local communities involved to plant the trees. Currently in Burkina Faso, they are working with a partner to keep the locals engaged in the growing process so they also have the opportunity to shape their community and earn income from their labor.
In this way, the search engine that plants trees also helps build community enrichment.
Innovative climate tech at the heart of the foundation.
As we write this, Ecosia has helped plant over 139 million trees, where the number grows by the second.
Photo courtesy of https://info.ecosia.org/what
Of course, the environment and deforestation are the heartbeat of Ecosia’s movement; however, it’s this idea of making it easy to contribute to the cause by using innovative technology solutions that makes it go ‘round.
Without having to do much work from the user side, each query put into the search engine has significance. The search engine is the driver here, where it is considered part of the newly rising category of technology and business called “climate tech.” According to this article published by GreenBiz, climate tech provides technological solutions towards mitigating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In recent years, investments towards climate tech have grown significantly simply because there is a need and desire for it.
Ecosia’s place in the climate tech world means that they are in service to the environment through means of innovative web solutions; in other words, the search engine facilitates users’ ability to make positive changes towards the environment.
Why Semantic Web Company cares.
Ecosia’s unique value proposition falls quite in line with our colleagues at the Semantic Web Company.
“For us at the Semantic Web Company, the sustainable development of our environment is of particular concern,” says Co-Founder and CIO Andreas Koller. “We see this as an obligation to humanity, and especially to our children, and would like to make our modest contribution to it. We can look towards a livable future if we all contribute to a livable environment.”
Not only is climate change important to our company values, Ecosia’s determination to help via means of technology resonates with us. Considering our place in the semantic web community, innovative technology is particularly special to our work.
In the past and present, we have proudly provided our software to organizations who take part in the environment. We are partners with Sensing Clues, a wildlife and nature conservation foundation and software provider to REEEP, a renowned global organization dedicated to renewable energy, to name a few.
These same eco-related values permeate our own company workplace. For a few years now, we have referred to our meeting rooms as the names of endangered animals. In normal, non-Covid times, Semantic Web Company colleagues can gather in the Orangutan room, or the Leopard room, or the Whale room, and so on. While the names are catchy, they do also serve a purpose.
When the names were first decided, the mission was also to donate money to environmental causes based on the number of meetings held in each of our endangered animal rooms. This same practice was held for 2021, so that one of our donations to close out the year goes towards Ecosia. As a company dedicated to the environment and environmental organizations, we are proud to support Ecosia this year through monetary contributions and purchasing of hundreds of trees.
Our own software has helped environmental organizations to offer their unique services, so we are happy to support an organization like Ecosia that specializes in climate tech.