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Ecosia: The Environmentalist Student's BFF

Personally, during the pandemic, I have felt like a terrible environmentalist. Disposable masks, plastic gloves, one-time use PPE and packaging from online shopping piled up in my trash can and my mind. As it turns out, during the pandemic we have not been as hard on the Earth as the many disposable items may make it feel. According to Bloomberg, almost 2.6 billion metric tons of CO₂ were prevented from entering the atmosphere due to the lowered production of many polluting companies.  

While this is great, it is always beneficial to check your lifestyle and find small switches that can further promote a healthier Earth. Since many of us are heading back to online-based school, there is an easy switch we can all incorporate into our busy lives: Ecosia. Ecosia is a free to download search engine that uses ad revenue to plant trees across the globe in countries including Ghana, Uganda, India and Nicaragua. The company is transparent about where the revenue is allocated and even puts some towards green investments. 

Making the switch over to Ecosia is very simple to do. For Google, go to the Chrome Web Store,  the extensions section, then search “Ecosia” to download it. Ecosia will become your default browser, but you can still access any Google Apps you want. For Microsoft Edge, go to Settings > Search Engines > Manage Search Engines > Add, type in www.ecosia.org and click the three dots to make it your default search engine. For your phone, just go to the app store and search for “Ecosia” and download. I am not technologically inclined, but making Ecosia my default was so simple!

I have had Ecosia installed for around two months, and the ad revenue from my search history has financed the planting of 335 trees, as of now. Every month the company makes their financial reports available on their blog under the “Money” tab so you can see exactly where their profit goes. They also do not sell your data to advertisers and they encrypt all of your searches, which some search engines do not do. All searches are powered by 100 percent clean energy due to the company’s extensive solar panel installation.  

Setting up Ecosia is a simple step to perform that will positively impact the environment in many ways. While using Ecosia won’t solve global warming, paired with other simple steps, such as cutting down on meat and shopping less, it lessens everyone’s impact on the environment.

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Edited By: Cheyenne Oakes