This week the University of Sheffield confirmed that they would be installing Ecosia as the default search engine on campus.

This switch is the culmination of two years of campaigning by the People and Planet student society and is being celebrated as a significant stride in shaping a more sustainable university.

If you haven’t heard of Ecosia, they are a search engine that makes money from ad revenue much like Google or Bing, however, Ecosia invests these profits into tree-planting projects worldwide. Just recently, Ecosia reached the milestone of planting 100 million trees. These trees store carbon helping combat climate change, provide a home for wildlife and create better livelihoods for rural communities.

When I arrived at Sheffield last year, I realised there was a massive opportunity for the university to become more climate-friendly; if everyone who was working at a computer was using Ecosia we could be responsible for planting thousands of trees. I was determined to make this a reality so I joined People and Planet who had run this campaign in 2018 and we restarted and grew the “Ecosia on Campus Sheffield” Facebook page to demonstrate how much support there was for Ecosia.

This allowed me to engage with the international Ecosia on campus community, a group of like-minded students from universities in America, Europe, Chile, Pakistan, and many more places all working to get Ecosia installed at their university. By speaking to other students I gained valuable insight in how to tackle some of the University’s initial concerns enabling me to convince them that this was a risk-free decision with huge global benefits. Unfortunately, due to the lack of students on campus Ecosia’s benefits will not be immediately seen, however by installing Ecosia on your own laptop you can help fight climate change from home.

I know I probably sound like a Lorax wannabe but trees do matter and I’m really glad the University has made this decision.

You can download Ecosia and contribute to the University of Sheffield’s tree count here.

by Dominic Meeks, People and Planet student society.

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