Student web surfers help plant trees after Scottish university switches to green browser
A Scottish university is among 20 internationally which has moved to a green-focused web browser.
The University of Glasgow has switched to Ecosia as part of a student-led campaign to encourage higher education institutes to make the eco-friendly browser their official search engine.
Hundreds of thousands of students have now helped to finance the planting of over 140,000 trees while they surf the web.
The ‘Ecosia on Campus’ movement has successfully led to universities such as the Ohio State University in the US and Toulouse Business School in France, implementing the browser.
The campaign launched in 2018 as a way for students to lobby for their educational institutions to make more sustainable choices and combat the climate crisis.
It was inspired by Fred Henderson, who pressed his university – the University of Sussex – to switch to Ecosia in the same year.
Henderson now leads Ecosia on Campus for the company, liaising with students and supporting their efforts to convince their universities to make the switch.
Over 280 Ecosia on Campus campaigns have taken place internationally, with young activists sending the message to their university that supporting purpose-driven brands like Ecosia can help fight the climate crisis.
Ecosia wants to switch all 24 universities in The Russell Group – a catch-all term for a group of universities with a shared focus on research and a reputation for academic achievement – in the UK by 2025, with the latest grassroots campaign starting this winter term at the University of Oxford.
Álvaro Perez Guardiola, student at the University of Glasgow, said: “It took over a year to campaign to get Glasgow to switch to using Ecosia but it was a campaign that paid off. We had amazing support from so many areas of the university, with students, staff, societies and student bodies coming together for this mission.
“Making this change was one way to make our university environmentally and socially world-changing, and we hope other students can start their own grassroots movement to make a difference with Ecosia on Campus too.”
Fred Henderson, project coordinator at Ecosia, said: “Universities are some of the most forward-thinking institutions in the world and their student bodies are full of vibrant, creative young people who are determined to make a positive impact on the world. That’s why traditionally we’ve seen such a big take-up of Ecosia by students as it aligns with their values to make a difference.
“Ecosia on Campus is a brilliant way to challenge a university’s thinking around the tech it uses and advocate for a platform that is fighting the climate crisis in a clear and tangible way. We’ve been delighted to support 20 universities and over 300,000 students so far with Ecosia on Campus and look forward to planting more trees thanks to the searches of students around the world.”