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The search engine that can help the planet » Yale Climate Connections

Sitting at the computer might not make you feel close to nature. But some internet users are actually helping to plant trees while they search the web.

Ruby Au works for a search engine called Ecosia.

“We are like any other search engine on the web,” she says. “And like other search engines, we run on an advertising model. But the difference with us is we put 100% of our profits from ad revenues into tree planting and climate action.”

Ecosia reports that since launching in 2009, it has financed the planting of more than 170 million trees worldwide.

The trees are planted by local organizations, and each project is tailored to its location.

In Uganda, for example, the company supported the development of wildlife corridors for chimpanzees. In Morocco, Ecosia helped plant fruit trees that can provide income for local communities.

The company also funds urban forestry projects in cities like New York and Los Angeles.

Au says Ecosia has more than 20 million users. And every time someone visits the site, they can see a running tally of how many trees their searches have helped to plant.

“It is such a simple and easy way to take climate action,” she says.

Reporting credit: Ethan Freedman/ChavoBart Digital Media

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