By: Beatriz Neves
Global warming, acid rain, waste disposal, climate change, water pollution, urban sprawl and air pollution are just a few examples of our Mother Earth’s current major concerns. This is nothing new, and yet the planet still looks like it is sinking into a way more serious situation. Doing your part by adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle is not as difficult as it may seem.
Ideally, each one of us would be involved in helping maintain and improve Dawson as a sustainable college. Dawson recently received a “mention d’excellence” from Cégep Vert due to its Carbon Neutral Forever initiative. Nevertheless, as students, we can be tied up in our academic life to the point where, despite their importance, environmental concerns are difficult to prioritize. What can we do that does not interfere with our schedules? If you identify with this type of situation, here is an accessible option for you: Ecosia.
Ecosia is an easy, eco-friendly and practical app, powered by Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Just by using the app, without changing your lifestyle, you will help our planet. According to their description on the App Store, “Ecosia is a tech company that puts the ability to do good in the hands of internet users.” This German organization, created in 2009 by Christian Kroll, is a search engine that generates revenue, just as any other, from search ads. The way the money is used is simple. This organization plants trees around the world, especially in countries where the community or nature needs the most. All their money is directed to either operational cost or tree planting.
Thinking this seems too simple and too good to be true? Yet, it is not as complicated as it may seem either. Ecosia profits by selling ad space and it uses that money to pay their “reforestation partners”, which are the companies and non-profit organizations that do tree planting around the world.
In July, for instance, the company donated 67,488 euros to the “Eden Projects” in Peru, which is a non-profit organization whose goal is to not only reforest but also to provide employment to poor villages. This organization focuses on hiring people in an extremely bad financial situation as reforestation agents. As a result, they help the community as well as the environment.
Ecosia is equally aware that the servers that are running the internet consume innumerable amounts of energy. Therefore, in 2017 they built their first solar energy plant to provide a 100% renewable energy to run their servers. It is a full green organization. Also, according to their website, they claim to not create personal profit based on your searches. They do not sell personal information to advertisement companies which encourages customers to do research without any hesitation.
However, It is hard to believe in Ecosia’s legitimacy due to its simple but utopian idea. That is why on their site anyone can keep track of their monthly financial reports and be sure if their money is going towards environmental purposes. The organization is completely transparent. Besides, Ecosia has been certified as a B-corporation since 2014, which means that it had been attested as a company who is leading the way and building a sustainable economy.
Ecosia is a great option for us as students who are constantly searching for things on Google. Going green should not be that difficult. There are plenty of cheap, accessible and easy options that anyone can embrace for a healthier green world. As Jane Goodall, a well-known British primatologist, once said “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”