Students’ web searches will now help to plant trees around the world, as Ecosia is launched as the default search engine on all public access and library computers.
People & Planet first started campaigning for Ecosia to be adopted as the default search engine back in 2019. In Semester 1, People & Planet met up with the Activities Officer as this was still an ongoing campaign. At our SUmmit Committee in November, a Standpoint proposal was raised which called for the University to adopt a sustainable search engine. Following approval at SUmmit, the Activities Officer wrote a paper for the University's C/S/SU Committee which received positive responses from the Vice-Chancellor. Once approval was granted from the Uni's Digital and IT department (DDAT), Ecosia was adopted as the default search engine browser on all library computers.
Ecosia is a not-for-profit business which dedicates 100% of its income from ad clicks to climate action. Their tree-planting projects revitalise communities and their local environment, whilst sequestering carbon and supporting biodiversity. This means the University will help finance the planting of thousands of trees in parts of the world they are needed most. By making the switch, the University of Bath joins a growing list of universities (e.g., Sussex, Swansea, Leeds…) supporting this environmental initiative. Students will still have the choice to use other search engines such as Google Chrome, should this be necessary, as some features on Ecosia aren’t as accessible yet.
However, People & Planet plan on pursuing this campaign further by raising awareness and educating their peers on Ecosia’s environmental projects in the upcoming months. By spreading the word about Ecosia, People & Planet hope to encourage students to install the search engine on their personal devices (e.g. phones, laptops) to make a greater impact on a larger scale.
Be sure to keep updated with information on Ecosia on The SU's website and on People and Planet’s social media in the weeks to come.