A search engine like Google, except for one small detail: It plants trees!

Are you ready to spend zero dollars, change one small habit, and save part of the Earth?

Meet the search engine that also plants trees: Ecosia. It might be one of the easiest ways to help out your neighbors.






Every search you make on Ecosia gives about .5 cent toward the planting of a tree in Burkina Faso, in Africa.

A huge, half-century drought devastated the region, and trees are a way to regain what was lost — and help people too!


Here's how you can help. It's almost TOO easy.

1. You search, and Ecosia makes its money from search income.

Search income is money made on the little ads you see when you search for stuff.


Image via Ecosia.

2. Each search earns about half a cent.

3. To plant one tree, it costs 28 cents. That's about 56 searches = one tree!

Ecosia has already planted just under 2.5 MILLION trees. So join the party, right?!

You might be thinking, "What does drought have to do with trees?" As it turns out, a lot.

During drought, vegetation dries up.

Food is hard to grow, and jobs that come from growing food become even harder to come by. The result is hunger, lack of work, loss of life, and at the end of it all ... huge terrifying dust storms?!!?

That's a giant dust storm from drought and not enough trees. Image via Jeff Attaway/Flickr

Yeah. Without water, soil becomes dust, and it wreaks havoc on humans and other life forms during a drought. Trees are the beginning of solving these problems.

By replenishing trees lost to drought, Ecosia replenishes the earth and provides work for the people of the region. Economies form around the planting of these trees. It's transformative.

So why is everyone not using this tree-planting, life-saving search engine? Well, I think I have an idea.

Ecosia runs on ... Bing.

Sure, it's a perfectly acceptable search engine, but I get that you might be hesitant to use it. Because, well, it's just not Google. And let's be real: It's the search engine used in most movies but not in most lives.

I'm signed up for Ecosia, so to ease all of your "eww Bing" feelings, I searched for some things. Let's see how it went:

1. Where is the nearest pizza place?

Google kinda won that one. But that's because Google knows exactly where I am. Creepy maybe? Ecosia isn't as stalkery. And I'm OK with that. I usually use my phone or Yelp for restaurants, so I can live with this.

But I earned .5 cent for trees! That feels good.

2. Why is Katy Perry mad at Taylor Swift?

When it comes to celebrity feuds that I kinda wonder about, I want my information fast. Google let me know it allegedly might be because Katy stole Taylor's dancers. Ecosia gave me some more up-to-the-minute news about a possible jab that Taylor made. I think Ecosia won that one.

And earned .5 cent!

3. Who is my hometown's state representative?

Hm. Both results were a little bit not helpful. Actually, I'm a little bit concerned that both Bing/Ecosia and Google are better at telling me about Katy Perry than they are about my elected officials, but that's a real talk for another time.

Again, I earned .5 cent!

Either way, that's 1.5 cents I made toward a tree, just by being curious. Totally worth it.

Go to Ecosia.org if this sounds like your kinda search.

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

Part of the reason why the O.J. Simpson trial still captures our attention 25 years later is because it's filled with complexities - and complexities on top of complexities at that. Kim Kardashian West finally opened up about her experience during the O.J. Simpson trial on the third season of David Letterman's Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, adding another layer to the situation.

Kardashian, who was 14 at the time, said she was close to Simpson before the trial, calling him "Uncle O.J." The whole Kardashian-Jenner brood even went on a family vacation in Mexico with the Simpsons just weeks before Nicole's murder.


Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Eight months into the pandemic, you'd think people would have the basics figured out. Sure, there was some confusion in the beginning as to whether or not masks were going to help, but that was months ago (which might as well be years in pandemic time). Plenty of studies have shown that face masks are an effective way to limit the spread of the virus and public health officials say universal masking is one of the keys to being able to safely resume some normal activities.

Normal activities include things like getting a coffee at Starbucks, but a viral video of a barista's encounter with an anti-masker shows why the U.S. will likely be living in the worst of both worlds—massive spread and economic woe—for the foreseeable future.

Alex Beckom works at a Starbucks in Santee, California and shared a video taken after a woman pulled down her "Trump 2020" mask to ask the 19-year-old barista a question, pulled it back up when the barista asked her to, then pulled it down again.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

We've heard that character is on the ballot this election—but also that policy matters more than personality. We've heard that integrity and honesty matter—but also that we're electing the leader of a nation, not the leader of a Boy Scout troop.

How much a candidate's character matters has been a matter of debate for decades. But one of the odd juxtapositions of the Trump era is that arguably the most historically immoral, character-deficient candidate has been embraced by the evangelical Christian right, who tout morality more than most. Trump won the right's "moral majority" vote by pushing conservative policies, and there is a not-so-small percentage of "one issue" voters—the issue being abortion—who are willing to overlook any and all manner of sin for someone who says they want to "protect the unborn."

So when a prominent, staunchly pro-life, conservative Christian pastor comes out with a biblical argument that basically says "Yeah, no, the benefit doesn't outweigh the cost," it makes people sit up and listen.


Keep Reading Show less