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July 23, 2011

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Google vs. Ecosia: Searching for an answer

by Geoff Grant

I like to think of myself as green. Maybe not as green as they come, but I try to walk the walk and I think about the planet every day. I’ve gotten rid of our car. I’m oh-so-close to being 100 percent vegetarian. I recycle, buy carbon offsets, religiously reuse things like our plastic sandwich and freezer bags. So why am I having such a hard time giving up Google as my search engine for the new environmentally friendly search engine, Ecosia.org?

If you haven’t heard about Ecosia, it’s a search engine from Bing and Yahoo that is committing 80 percent of all its advertising revenue from Ecosia to the World Wildlife Fund’s Amazon rainforest campaign. In addition, it boasts that its servers run on green energy.

Now, I’m not naive, though I might be a tad bit jaded. I think this is just smart business by Bing to try and siphon more of the search-engine market from Google. But does that matter? In the search-engine wars, rooting for Bing or Google is like rooting for IBM or the Yankees.

So you’d think this would be an easy thing. I mean, compared to giving up burgers and bacon for chickpeas and tofu, or selling our car for a folding bicycle, what’s so hard about changing search engines?

Is Google’s search that much better? Yes, it’s certainly easier to navigate, better architected and shows more results. But it’s not like you can’t hit the “next” button on Ecosia. And is “better looking” enough to forgo the appeal of doing my little part for the rainforests, and ultimately, our planet?

I’m certainly not adverse to change (see food & transportation above), so my hesitance makes no sense. But after thinking about it, I believe it’s because it’s so intangible. When you change something big, you can see and feel the results. Getting rid of the car felt liberating, not to mention the cost savings. Going vegetarian has made me feel healthier, and the weight-loss is real, it’s tangible.

With big personal changes, you stop feeling quite so helpless in the face of huge environmental problems. But changing something so small as a url so someone else’s money gets diverted to a good cause, it’s a fleeting feeling of making a microscopic difference.

But, small things do matter. Progress is made one plastic bag at a time, one mouse click at a time. So I will contribute in whatever ways I can, small and large.

So Ecosia.org it is. Now, if I can only figure out the settings.

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1 Comment Post a comment
  1. loveofthedark
    Mar 3 2017

    Maybe try ecosia.com? That’s the one I’m using and it seems really brain-dead simple to navigate.

    Reply

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