Using an eco-friendly search engine can help you to fight climate change by doing what you do every day: searching the web. It’s old news that carbon dioxide (CO2) gases are fuelling climate change, and every time you perform a Google search you’re adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
Back in 2009, Google stated that a search generates 0.2 grams of CO2. We can only assume that this has got more efficient, although this may have been counteracted by the drastic rise in web users since then. Other sources suggest a Google search could generate up to 10 grams of CO2, but the exact figure is open to debate.
Whatever the figure, these numbers add up. This isn’t to say you should stop searching the web, but it’s crucial to consider the impact your actions have on the planet. One way to offset your impact could be by switching to an eco-friendly search engine.
What makes a search engine eco-friendly?
Search engines make money from advertising revenue. Whilst Google uses this revenue to pay out bonuses to top executives, there are many search engines which use their profits to help prevent and reverse climate change. Whether that’s by reforesting the land and the oceans or removing plastics that are killing marine life.
Here are 3 eco-friendly search engines you can use to help fight climate change:
With a user base of 15 million and counting, Ecosia is the biggest green search engine out there. Ecosia uses 80% of its advertising revenue to plant trees. Trees capture huge amounts of carbon and have the potential to mitigate climate change. It’s been suggested that global reforestation could capture around 25% of atmospheric carbon. With over 9,000 planting sites across the globe, Ecosia has a clear path towards making this goal achievable.
On average, every 45 searches on Ecosia generates enough revenue to plant a tree. By changing your default search engine to Ecosia, you can help to plant trees too. Or, if you use paid advertising, your business could start advertising on Ecosia.
Whilst Ecosia works to reforest the land, Ekoru is working to reforest the oceans. This hydro-electric powered search engine splits 60% of its advertising revenues between two ocean centric causes; Operation Posidonia and The Big Ocean Cleanup.
Operation Posidonia replants seagrass meadows, providing food and shelter to hundreds of ocean dwelling species. Seagrass meadows are highly effective at capturing carbon and can process it 40 times faster than terrestrial forests.
The Big Ocean Cleanup helps to keep oceans clean by removing plastic from the oceans. Plastic pollution can prevent ocean life from absorbing CO2 properly, so keeping our oceans plastic free is very important.
OceanHero is another search engine that help to remove plastic from the ocean. Their partnership with Plastic Bank has helped them to recover over 13 million plastic bottles, which would otherwise end up in the ocean.
It’s not clear how much of their advertising revenue goes towards fighting plastic pollution. However, they do claim that every 5 searches will help them to recover one ocean-bound plastic bottle.
A Moz survey in 2019 found that 77% of people perform 3+ Google searches per day. Based on this data, the majority of us could recover one ocean-bound plastic bottle almost every day, just by searching with OceanHero.
Special Mention: SearchScene
Although not exclusively climate focused, SearchScene’s huge profit pledge makes them worthy of a special mention. SearchScene pledges 95% of its advertising revenues towards good causes. The most out of all of the search engines listed. You get to choose where your money goes too, splitting your pledge between 6 different projects, including Eden Reforestation Projects.
Have I missed any? If you feel that a particular eco-friendly search engine deserves a place on this list then please let me know.