You might hear about search Engine ‘Ecosia’ which promises to plant trees for your searches made through their site. It came in more attention after clarifying that they will plant trees in the Amazon Forest which was burned by wildfire this month. In this article, We’ll be talking about the dark truth of Ecosia know one knows.
For one, it uses Bing as it back ends, which means they are wasting significant resources with each search. Microsoft still doesn’t use 100% renewable energy, they’re at 40% and lower in some places around the world. Google, however, is entirely run on renewables. And remember, they don’t get paid when you search, they get paid when they get you distracted with what you didn’t realize was an advertisement, so plenty of the people who use the engine but are smart enough to figure out the ads burn energy without planting anything. And if you aren’t, it is designed to take you to sites you didn’t want to go to. It’s the only way they make money.
But beyond that:
This is a company openly misleading people about their goals and intentions. For example, they advertise that they planted enough trees to swallow up one point five million tons of CO2, which sounds big until you realize that considering that is less than half of a tenth of a percent of the human OVERAGE in terms of where we need to be to save the planet and considering this is them after a decade of trying … this isn’t actually helping anything. The fact that they use BING instead of Google, which means they are using non-renewable sources to power their searches and super inefficient power usage in general, is something they could change easily if they were willing to but comes down to a “small” company being unable to put profit aside over the planet. Which is … fine I guess, but when you build a company on THIS IS THE ECO ANSWER it reads like a giant scam when you openly ignore the environmental impact of what you offer to make more money.
Especially when they have talked in the past about simply paying their way to undo carbon damage they’ve done, which isn’t how anything works.
Eco is a great buzzword because our planet is essentially a match head and if we don’t want it to strike we need to immediately get the water out. We’re about to suffer permanent, tragic consequences and everyone wants to feel like they can make a few small changes to stop that.
Anyone selling you a search engine that saves the planet by planting a small fraction of trees based on how many people click the ads they inject into searches (they don’t get paid per search, only when they lead you astray during their searching, think about that as well) probably has a bridge in Brooklyn they’d like to sell you too.
Starbucks wants to distract from the fact that they are a massive producer of the world’s waste by paying PR firms to tell you it’s your fault for using straws. Car manufacturers sell hybrids making at most 40 a gallon as “hyper-efficient” because the old ways of making 60 MPG didn’t net enough of a return for them in the long run. And I’m sure tech companies like Microsoft want to be able to tell you their ridiculous power consumption levels would go down if only you’d use this one specific search engine instead of the thing they told you to do yesterday, despite it being the same thing, because they know how well the branding will trick us into thinking we’re at fault.
Do you want to help the environment? Don’t think about the search engine. Use google to find places near you to do ecological volunteer work. Reduce community power usage in general by fighting for renewable sources of energy for everything that you have access to, from your local government to the federal level. Donate directly to WWF or to the EDF or to someone who can use resources to fight.
Don’t buy that more consumption done slightly differently will fix our problems of overconsumption. You cannot consume your way out of overconsumption.