If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time surfing the web. I’m constantly asking the internet for answers to all of life’s little questions (namely, “what’s for dinner?”).

As an internet junkie and aspiring environmentalist, I was thrilled to discover a way to save the planet while I click away: Ecosia!

Ecosia is a Germany-based online search engine that generously donates 80% of profits to tree-planting conservation organizations worldwide. Their search engine is powered by Bing, along with Ecosia’s own search algorithms. So far, the site has led to the planting of more than 21 million trees.

The Power of Trees

Clean air, water security, and a cooler climate can all be accomplished by — you guessed it — trees. Planting more of them just might push us in the right, eco-friendly direction.

Trees absorb CO2, a greenhouse gas, and release oxygen. The carbon they sequester is stored in their wood, allowing trees to continuously sequester carbon throughout their life.

Forests were responsible for offsetting approximately 16% of U.S. carbon emissions in 2011, and they’re still on the job. In other words, trees fight climate change.

As if alleviating the greenhouse effect weren’t enough, trees provide important wildlife habitat, produce healthy food, maintain water security, generate fertile soil, prevent erosion, and more. They’re all-natural environmental superheroes.

Planting Projects

Ecosia has already planted over 130 million trees. With more than 15 million active users and counting, the number of trees planted grows steadily.

The organization focuses on 35 “hot spots” when planning its tree-planting ventures. These hot spots are areas that desperately need healthy forests to sustain their endangered ecosystems and livelihood.

Agriculture is largely dependent on the productive land, full water table, and soil stability that trees provide. Unfortunately, there are places across the globe that can’t afford to plant trees themselves. That’s where Ecosia comes in.

Ecosia looks at the ecological and financial needs of a region in determining where to plant. If an area meets the organization’s standards for a hot spot, they go on the to-plant list.

Ecosia and Sustainability

Help plant trees just by surfing the internet.
Help plant trees just by surfing the internet. Photo: Adobe Stock

A big question is whether or not the forests planted by this environmental search engine are sustainable. The scientists behind Ecosia understand how a forest ecosystem works and have established sustainability criteria for their projects:

  • Only plant where trees have grown historically
  • Use native species and natural processes
  • Consider ecological, political, and socioeconomic aspects for a “landscape approach” to planting projects

There’s no doubt that the trees your Ecosia web search pays for will deeply benefit a community in need, enhancing our global environment all the while.

Ecosia currently has tree-planting projects in Cameroon, Nigeria, Guatemala, Mexico, Sudan, Indonesia, Brazil, and more.

You can plant trees while you search by installing their free browser extension today.

Feeling inspired? Here are even more ways to plant trees from the comfort of your computer chair.

By Lauren Murphy

Lauren has a B.S. in environmental science, a crafting addiction, and a love for all things Pacific Northwest. She writes from her cozy downtown apartment tucked in the very northwestern corner of the continental U.S. Lauren spends her time writing and focusing on a healthy, simple and sustainable lifestyle.