Ecosia.org, a green search engine that generates donations through ad clicks, has hit an amazing $1 million in donations to rainforest protection programs.
Ecosia was launched in December 2009 and works by delivering Bing and Yahoo search results and sponsored ads. When a user clicks on a sponsored link, that company pays Bing and Yahoo, who then pay Ecosia. Ecosia donates 80 percent of its take to the World Wide Fund for Nature's programs in the Amazon rainforest, specifically in the Tumucumaque region in northern Brazil, an area that's home to about 14% of all amphibian species and roughly 54% of all bird species in the Amazon, as well as large populations of at least eight threatened species, including the jaguar.
Each click only amounts to a few cents, but in just its first year, the site generated over $160,000 in donations. Now, in just over two years, those cents added up to $1 million. If you're skeptical, Ecosia keeps a list or donation receipts and business reports on its site to prove they're putting the money where it belongs. The site also offsets its carbon emissions and runs its servers on electricity provided through Greenpeace Energy, which currently utilizes about 99 percent hydro power and 1 percent wind power.
Here's a little video explaining how the search engine works:
Merely changing where you search seems like possibly the simplest way to contribute real money to help protect one of the world's most vulnerable ecosystems.