University considering new eco search engine

Published

Credit: Glasgow University on Ecosia

Ollie Rudden
Deputy News Editor

The University of Glasgow is considering switching search engines on their computers to a website that helps plant thousands of trees.

Glasgow University on Ecosia (UofG on Ecosia), announced on their Facebook page that Principal Anton Muscatelli, and Chief Operating Officer and co-chair of the Sustainability Working Group at the University of Glasgow, David Duncan, are now considering their proposals to partner with Ecosia.

Ecosia is a search engine based in Berlin that donates 80% of profits to reforestation. It is already the search engine used at many universities, including the Universities of Essex and Swansea, and most recently the University of Bristol passed a motion to switch to Ecosia.

The search engine is hoping to be used as the default browser at all universities to achieve their goals of planting one billion new trees by 2020.

UofG on Ecosia, the student campaign group campaigning to change the search engine at the University of Glasgow, states that it takes approximately 45 searches on Ecosia to grow one tree, and that with a student population of 29,000 and 8,000 staff, one web-search per person at the University could result in the plantation of over 300,000 trees a year. The campaign is supported by 19 other student societies at the University of Glasgow.

A spokesperson for UofG Ecosia said the head of IT told them he had been contacted about the campaign by four different people in the same week, which shows strong support from students and staff is the key to achieving change on campus.

“I think the main reason the administration was quick to engage with us is due to the fact that we were able to get the support of hundreds of students and over a dozen societies in under a month,” the spokesperson said.

Representatives from UofG on Ecosia are set to meet with the University’s IT department to discuss Ecosia proposals this month and are hopeful of seeing a switchover happening as soon as next semester. The group also has an online petition that has reached over 530 signatures at the time of publication.