Thanks to a student’s idea, FEU is now using an eco-conscious search engine

October 31, 2019 - 10:22 PM
FEU library
Row of shelves in the library of Far Eastern University in Manila. (FEU Library photo)

Far Eastern University is not the “green” (and yellow) university for nothing.

Recently, it set up the default search engine of its computers to Ecosia, a search engine that donates profits to organizations focused on reforestation efforts.

The educational institution heeded the suggestion of Twitter user Gwynett Almaden, an FEU student who first contacted its library office through Facebook about using the search engine.

She sent a message to them in August 2019 asking if it was “possible” for their e-library to switch to Ecosia after finding out about its pro-environment initiative.

She came across a post that featured the search engine’s goals and then thought it would be helpful if thousands of people, including students, would utilize it to support its advocacy.

“I came across a post indicating that Ecosia is a search engine that aims to help the nature by planting trees and that they are using their ads for it,” Almaden said in an online interview with Interaksyon.

“So I thought, why not forward this to my university that has a vast population of students with hundreds of computer units? As a result, I forwarded the information to FEU Library and raised my suggestion who, after a month or so, made it possible,” she added.

The university library, Almaden said, initially set up “around 20 computer units with Ecosia as the default search engine.”

By the third week of October, a staffer from the library replied to her Facebook message through the page and said they are “slowly rolling” out the pro-environment search engine in all of the e-library computers.

The personnel also invited her to see it for herself and added that they are grateful for her suggestion.

Greta Thunberg would be proud,” the personnel said, referencing the Swedish teen climate activist behind the “Fridays for Future” movement rallying people to demand aggressive actions from their government on climate change.

RELATED: Teen advocate Greta Thunberg wishes Philippines luck on first day of #ClimateStrike

The library also featured Almaden’s tweet, along with the link to the website of Ecosia, on its page.

Ecosia is a search engine that helps plant trees around the world. We recently set this as the default search engine of…

Posted by Far Eastern University Library on Monday, October 28, 2019


“Ecosia is a search engine that helps plant trees around the world. We recently set this as the default search engine of the computers in the FEU Electronic Library. Once again, thank you for the suggestion @gwynalmaden,” the caption of their post reads.

What is Ecosia? 

Ecosia is a search engine designed by a German-based firm that donates 80 percent of its profits earned from advertising revenues to conservationist organizations with tree-planting projects.

“We use the profit we make from your searches to plant trees where they are needed most,” the website said on its info page.

As of March 2019, Ecosia has been supporting over 20 tree-planting projects in 15 countries, mostly from Africa and South America. It also plants trees in Indonesia as well.

RELATED: Why this potential Google competitor is gaining ground in Philippines

The website also supports reforestation efforts in biodiversity hotspots where large numbers of unique but threatened species are located.

“They represent just 2.3% of Earth’s land surface, but they support more than half of the world’s plant species and nearly 43% of bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian species found nowhere else on earth,” Ecosia said.

The website also aims to mitigate impacts of climate change, empower impoverished communities through tree-planting projects and maintain habitats of endangered animals for rich biodiversity.

“Simply by planting a tree, you can fight climate change, restore landscapes, protect wildlife, provide nutrition, employment, education, medical assistance and economic stability,” Ecosia said.