For eleven years, the search engine Ecosia has used most of the revenue from advertising on its website and app towards planting trees—and this month they planted their 100-millionth tree.
The German nonprofit, which became the first ‘B Corporation’ in that country because it was established for social good, has earned its founder Christian Kroll widespread praise—and one reason is that they claim to plant more native species than any other mass tree planting effort.
The phenomenon of mass tree planting began in the early 2000s when scientists began hypothesizing that the increase in CO2 emissions could be countered by replenishing the world’s forests.
Since then, projects like Africa’s Great Green Wall (and China’s Green Great Wall) or dozens of others in Asia, like this man who planted an entire mangrove ecosystem, have seen billions of trees planted over the last two decades—although many died due to improper planting or post-planting management efforts.
Ecosia often targets countries that are the most biodiverse, where tree loss directly corresponds with species loss. This has caused them to launch projects in Nicaragua and Peru, Burkina Faso and Malawi, and Indonesia and Australia.
In 2018, for example, they created a tree nursery for 200,000 trees in Madagascar, to help create a forest corridor leading from an isolated habitat to the ocean. In 2019 they created a forest agriculture project in Borneo, to prevent locals selling the land to oil palm development.
Following the devastating fires in the Amazon, the number of people who had installed the Ecosia app doubled, allowing them to fund a 3 million tree-planting project in Brazil. In the wake of the Australian bushfires, Ecosia began restoring native forests there.
Just last year they celebrated their 50-million-tree milestone, having now doubled it in just one year’s time.
“100 million trees tackle the climate crisis by removing 1771 tonnes of CO2 every day, but it means so much more than that,” wrote Ecosia in their blog. “100 million trees means habitats for endangered animals. It means healthy rivers, more biodiversity, and fertile soil, and more fruits, nuts, and oils for local communities.”
Ecosia is a dream company for any environmentalist. Besides planting over 100 million trees, they have built their own solar power station—to energize 200% of all the power required to run their servers. They have also added little notes to their search results to let you see whether a company is tree/planet friendly, or whether they utilize a lot of fossil fuels.
They have also committed to never selling the company, so that no one will ever “become rich” from their efforts, except Mother Earth.