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Save the planet one query at a time with Ecosia: the search engine that plants trees

Unhappy with the amount of money Google is making off of your searches? How about a search engine that promises to plant trees every time you search

That’s the idea behind Ecosia, an eco-friendly search engine that has vowed to spend its extra revenue on planting trees in Africa and elsewhere. It’s no small amount either: about 80 percent of the search engine’s revenue ends up being donated (about $50,000-80,000 per month) and the company has planted over three million trees since it launched six years ago — or about one tree every 12 seconds.

“The good cause we support could be something other than tree planting, but we’ve determined planting trees as a way of helping the environment and the people,” founder and CEO Christian Kroll told Digital Trends in an interview.

Ecosia is the brainchild of Kroll, who first launched the site back in 2009 after Kroll’s travels through Asia and South America. Originally Ecosia funded NGO projects in Nepal while Kroll spent time in the country, but the lack of stable Internet or electricity in the country caused him to scrap the idea. The site returned after Kroll’s time in South America, where he learned more about deforestation and its link to climate change.

“I combined my idea for a charitable search approach with tree planting,” he explains. “Ever since, Ecosia has supported different reforestation projects with its search ad revenue.”

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Search results are powered by Bing, although the site provides a Google search button so that its users can compare search results. Ad revenues come through its exclusive partnership with Microsoft’s Bing Ads service. In the end, it’s a simple way to help the environment doing something millions of us do on a daily basis.

“I believe in the power of social business and smart tools like, for example, a tree planting search engine,” Kroll says. “We think that the future belongs to products that allow users to cater to their own needs and simultaneously do good without any additional costs or effort, simply by capitalizing on a daily habit.”

If saving the planet one query at a time sounds like something you’d like to do, head over to Ecosia.com to check it out, or just install the Chrome extension to make it your default search engine.