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Which Green Search Engine Should You Choose?

What if your searches had the potential to do good for the planet? Here's what to know about two green search engines: Ecosia and Oceanhero.

Written by
Ksheetisha Bhat

It's safe to say that many of us make at least a couple Google searches a day. Whether you're looking for recipes to make for tonight's vegan dinner or you're keeping up with the latest sustainability news, it's likely you're opening one of the main search engines: Google, Bing, or Yahoo. But did you know that each search you make has the potential to do even more good for the planet?

With the rapidly transforming world of the internet, platforms like Google are hitting record high financial margins with their services. In 2021, Google's parent company, Alphabet, ranked second in market capitalization among global internet companies, reaching $257 billion.

However, what if we told you there was a way you could continue to make your searches, answer questions, and stay informed, all while making a difference for the planet? There are two search engines that help combat the issues of climate change, plastic pollution, and wildlife suffrage: Ecosia and Oceanhero.

Let's take a look into each, weigh the pros and cons, and help you figure out which one is right for you.

Green Search Engines: Ecosia vs Oceanhero

1. Ecosia

Trees are an important weapon against climate change: They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. However, as a result of deforestation, our planet's trees are at risk. To solve this problem, Ecosia founder Christian Kroll sought to create a comfortable, accessible, and more cost-effective system that plants trees and helps you search the internet with ease. 

With every 45 searches you make, Ecoisa earns enough to plant one tree. These trees are then planted in locations where they are needed most. Not only do they help to restore local habitats, but they also provide opportunities for families with lower incomes to make a living through this work.

Additionally, Ecosia's servers run on 200% renewable energy, and the search engine is carbon negative! This means that each search engine request removes 1 kilogram of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Plus, Ecosia is a Certified B Corporation, meaning the company meets high social and environmental standards.

Ecosia also posts its financial reports across its blog, so users can verify that profits are spent appropriately, as promised. Privacy and security are valued by the team as well, so all searches are encrypted and anonymized. 

Although this search engine has countless advantages, it’s not as advanced as Google. Ecosia’s service runs on a similar engine to Yahoo, where tools like calculators and big bolded answers do not appear. 

Regardless, Ecosia poses a series of benefits for the planet, wildlife, and the people. Currently, Ecosia has planted 148 million trees and counting, and it has about 15 million active users. Ecosia has the ability to have a major impact on the planet, so this might just be your sign to give it a try.

Like Ecosia, Oceanhero uses its profits for change. But unlike Ecosia, this search engine uses the money to recover plastic from oceans and bodies of water to help save ocean ecosystems and marine life.

Research shows that the ocean will have more plastic than sea life by 2050, and it's clear to see why. Every year, 18 billion pounds of plastic enter and pollute our oceans. This plastic then harms sea life by contaminating food sources. As a result, marine animals find themselves enduring a great deal of pain and suffering. 

Oceanhero was founded with the goal of giving people the opportunity to do good with everyday actions like searching the web. With every five searches you make, Oceanhero earns enough to recover one plastic bottle from the ocean. Through a signed partnership with Plastic Bank, plastic is prevented from reaching the coasts and instead, is appropriately recycled for reuse.

Although Oceanhero has its pros, it doesn't have the exact same guarantee for privacy (no encryption, just not tracked), nor does it run on 100% renewable energy. Financial stats are not revealed, but each month's total plastic bottles collected are disclosed to users.

Nevertheless, Oceanhero is dedicated to its mission and continues to deliver. Millions of plastics have already been recovered, so it's clear that this search engine will continue its work.

Which Green Search Engine Should You Choose?

Now here comes the big question: Which green search engine should you choose? Well, here's our answer: It’s up to you to decide. Choose the engine that aligns with your values and whose mission is more concerning to you.

If you believe trees would make a more lasting impact, privacy is required, and renewable energy is crucial, then Ecosia was made for you. If you love the sea, are passionate about zero waste, and aren’t too concerned about encryption, then Oceanhero would be best. 

How Do I Install These Search Engines?

Ecosia and Oceanhero are both apps you can download on your phone and browser extensions you can add to Google Chrome.

To download the extension:

  1. Open the Chrome web store in your browser.
  2. Search your chosen engine in the search bar.
  3. Choose the first option that appears, with over 2 million users for Ecosia and 100,000+ for OceanHero.
  4. Click “Download Extension” and complete the instructions that follow. When you're done, your green engine appears as your primary search engine each time you open a new tab.