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John Oliver

  • Ecosia is a non-profit web search engine (powered by Bing), dedicated to planting trees from the profits of web search ads. It’s pretty ingenious. According to TechCrunch, it’s pretty popular in Europe. It’s not a total panacea for climate-change, and it rightly so is criticized for greenwashing, since the organization itself isn’t even planting the trees:

    Ecosia also isn’t planting trees for carbon offsetting — another measure that’s frequently framed as climate action but has been extensively criticized as greenwashing.

    There’s a whole episode of Last Week Tonight dedicated to carbon offsets. Carbon offsets are suspect and a victim of their own success. The entire concept has been commandeered and ensnared by shady marketing. Company executive pine to be viewed as a climate-righteous leader in their space and yearn to be viewed as a “climate-conscious company.” More often than not, these companies use third-party companies (called offset brokers) to offset their footprint. Unsurprisingly, this ends up begin abused by offset brokers bullshit promises and inflated claims:

    So, is using Ecosia worth it? Maybe. Maybe not. It appears that Google, DuckDuckGo and even Microsoft/Bing are all carbon offsetting. So no matter who you choose to search the web with, you’re participating in some sort of carbon offset program. The real question remains, just how much of your carbon offset is bullshit or not?