Single click help

May 27, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

One of the easiest ways I know of to help the planet, help yourself, and do something that makes you feel good, is as easy as a single mouse click.

I just did this and am thrilled.

My friend, Seth, wrote a blog post yesterday that I am posting verbatim in today’s post.

This really matters.

Switching your search engine

Make the choice to upgrade from Google.

There are many good reasons to do so, and few downsides.

Do it for your efficiency, for the health of the web and for the planet too.

First, a quick clarification because this is confusing to many people: The thing you use to browse the internet is not a search engine. Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Safari–these are web browsers. A browser is software that allows you to look at any web page–and these companies often make money by selling your attention to the search engine that bids the most. Apple takes billions of dollars a year from Google in exchange for steering you to their search engine.

And the reason that Google bids so much is that they make an insane amount of money. Billions of dollars a year from serving up ads and harvesting your data from your searches. That money needs to come from somewhere.

You can switch your search engine in just a few clicks. See a short video and find the links right here.

Here’s what will happen when you switch to Ecosia:

  1. You’ll get faster and less cluttered search results, with far fewer ads.
  2. You’ll be diversifying the web, so SEO hacks can’t easily take over. Here’s Adam Savage ranting about this.
  3. You’ll be giving away far less data about yourself and maintaining more privacy.
  4. AND! You’ll be planting trees through a certified not-for-profit B corp… more than 100,000,000 planted so far.

If you don’t like the results, you can switch back in two minutes.

Faster, free, and more convenient.

If you switch and then you forward this to five more people who switch, we’re likely to plant another 100,000,000 trees in the next year. That’s a lot. If you switch and spread the word, search results will get better and Google will start to do a better job knowing that they don’t have quite the same scale of monopoly.

If you switch, we all come out ahead. Share a question or experience here and I’ll share in a future post. PS I wasn’t asked to post this or compensated to do so. I switched 9 months ago and I’m glad I did.

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31 comments on “Single click help”

  1. Although I’m against spreading chain letters of any kind, this for sure is a good motive.
    Or should I say, I’m against chain letters, independent of the motive? Not sure.

    This is your forum, and even if you use it for spreading your thinking aside audio (which might not have been the original intent), your thinking is a good one…fortunately!

  2. “That money needs to come from somewhere”…well, yeah…but Seth doesn’t
    tell us where & why or whether that “somewhere” is a good or a bad place.
    All businesses have to have money coming from “somewhere”, otherwise they
    wont stay in business for very long…’Business 101′.
    Just like the money that funds the CCP’s ‘military might’, it also needs to come
    from “somewhere”…& that “somewhere” is mainly from Western nations that
    manufacture in China.
    I’ve learned to ignore ads since I was a boy watching TV in the 1960’s & I’ve
    gotten pretty good at it.
    Also, there’s very little of my private information that ‘Google’ can clean from my searches.

    Until I find out that ‘Google’ is doing something to threaten Australia (like the
    Chinese government is planning to do) I’m ok with them.
    Meanwhile, I’ll do some research about ‘Ecosia’ before I switch.
    But this line, “That money needs to come from somewhere” means nothing;
    it’s just stating the obvious.

  3. I despise Google (check out Search & Destroy sometime; to me, their company motto ought to be “Do evil”), so I welcome alternatives. I’ve been using DuckDuckGo for years for privacy reasons, but will check this out.

    I also like improving the earth’s respiratory resources. But please, please, stop perpetuating the false equivalence between carbon and CO2. They are not the same thing. Regardless of one’s views on environmental and climate issues, it’s difficult to have rational discussions when people are quite literally talking about two separate things and not even realizing it.

    1. This headline popped up on my internet the other day accompanied by a graph which said that CO2 levels on earth were the lowest they’d ever been and if they dropped too much more plants would not be able to survive. My first thought was that’s quite sensationalist and I know I should have read the article, but if I read everything that interested me I’d be permanently immobile in my chair. Made me think though, and remember. Perhaps someone here could shed more light?

      1. Yeah, I am skeptical by nature and that doesn’t sound right. I don’t know that we want this to be a climate forum, but this data seems credible to me and might be worth a look; certainly a counterpoint to what you reference. People might argue the significance of this trend given other greenhouse components and the magnitude of CO2 by comparison, but this sure doesn’t look historically low:

        1. Most CO2 comes from volcanic eruptions. One big eruption puts more CO2 in the atmosphere than we will do in 1000 years. The earth has recovered from a lot worse things than us. Asteroid strikes ice ages sun activity gama ray bursts.

          1. Yes, and a lot of species have come and gone in the process. I’d prefer not to be a gonner, at least not before my natural time is up. Homo Audiophilus, after all, is a pretty cool species. 😎

            1. There is nothing more powerful to our survival than nature itself. Nature has wiped out many past civilizations and ultimately in another billion years the sun will become so swelled and hot that our oceans will evaporate. The planet will be as dead as Venus. Our effects to the earth are minor compared to the forces of nature. Better pray a super volcano like the one that resides in Yellowstone never erupts. It’s long overdue. Long overdue for an asteroid strike too.

    2. Well, technically they aren’t the same of course but in a much broader sense they inexorably linked together. It’s probably a relationship that’s forever going to be linked in the lexicon so might as well get used to it. The whole subject is already complicated enough.

      I have been working for months now with a large group of volunteers around the world to produce the world’s first Carbon Almanac. You’ll be hearing more about this in months to come. It’s a wonderfully valuable resource of simple facts and figures without opinion or bias on what’s really happening.

      Just the facts, ma’am, nothin’ but the facts.

      Can’t wait to share it with you.

      Oh, and there’s plenty of C02 in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, too much. So no worries about enough for plants.

      1. I am pretty sure, Paul, that Homo sapiens will successfully destroy all essential natural resources having allowed him to survive until now – he has just simply misunderstood the order “Dominic Terrae” of the Maker and has forgotten to preserve the creation. Evolution tells us that adaptation to changing boundary conditions (and not artificially setting unnatural boundary conditions for maximizing profits) is a most successful strategy for surviving. And being familiar with cybernetics and control engineering you should also have realized that the time constants of global climate processes and human phlegm (!) will not allow us now to change things for the better. It’s just to late, some 50 years after the publication of the study “Global 2000” (The Limits of Growth) published by the Club of Rome.

      2. Yeah the plants will have plenty to eat…lol. The earth has shook off everything nature has thrown at her over the billions of years. There were long periods where the earth was super hot or frozen like a popsicle and always recovered. We don’t like to think of ourselves as animals or a part of nature but that’s exactly what we are. The earth will shake us off like fleas. Go to YouTube Paul and search George Carlin on the environment. Funny as hell.

      1. Tim, Did not see this earlier, but his is very enlightening. I was seriously considering DDG, but maybe it is better to stay with the devil I know than to go with a new one.

    1. Ok, that relativates things.
      But other search engines are an alternative just for the basic searches anyway in my experience.

      Many functions like offering a complete navigation coverage incl. e-scooter providers and similar (I’m just experiencing this as very useful at the moment), seem quite unique for Google.

  4. Mandiant,Fitbit, Looker, Nest, Waze, DoubleClick, YouTube. 7 companies owned by Alphabet.

    Should they be boycotted also? Pay attention and know what you’re getting into…. Whether it’s your browser, your choice of search engine or anything else that has to do with collecting data and leaving a trail.

    I used to get PSA ads all the time…. Something change?

      1. While this is true in principle, it is a little like saying we all should be aware of how the Federal government spends its money. That endeavor, in itself, becomes a profession (known as a politician, or perhaps a political watchdog). My life is centered on other issues at this point in time.

  5. Interesting. I think I’ll give it a go. I use Safari as my default web browser, and I see Ecosia comes pre-installed by Apple as an Extension.

    I wondered where Ecosia gets its technology, as a first-rate search engine is no mean feat. It takes years to develop. Apparently, the underlying search technology is straight from Microsoft Bing. Here’s what Wikipedia says:

    “At launch, the search engine provided a combination of search results from Yahoo! and technologies from Bing and Wikipedia. Ads were delivered by Yahoo! as part of the revenue sharing agreement with the company…. Ecosia’s search results have been provided by Microsoft Bing since 2017…. Cooperation between Ecosia and Microsoft benefits both companies: Microsoft makes a small profit via Ecosia, which presumably takes customers away from Google, and Ecosia can keep its investment in infrastructure small through the use of Bing’s existing implementation. In March 2021, the 82-person company spent only €73,000 on servers and software, compared with €381,000 on personnel costs.”

  6. I wondered what comments would come, seems most folk so far have more than a passing knowledge in this area – intelligent, open minded and thoughtful folk 🙂

    My comment, without bashing any company or country…
    … if I type in a search using Google’s engine it doesn’t impress me when it comes back with 1,500,000,000 items in a fraction of a second, the top few is normally enough.

    So, if a dare, I’d suggest you try Ecosia…
    … for me, mostly using an iPad, I’ve tried other search engines than Google including Ecosia. It’s ‘probably true for now’ that Ecosia uses less resources, as mentioned above they seem to have a deal with Microsoft, well there’s another large company that many don’t seem to like, to use Bing’s data without some bits including some data gathering. I’ve also done this with DuckDuckGo…

    Personally I’m not convinced ‘yet’, so currently I use Safari with Ecosia as the search engine but sometimes retry using the Chrome browser with Google’s search engine. Now, of course, when I double up searches I’m using even more planetary resources 🙁

    Like I said, for me, I’ve not come to a conclusion ‘yet’…
    … might be something to do with my background as a Chartered Engineer in Information Technology, CEng MBCS CITP – working with applications, systems, networking in software and ‘some’ firmware/hardware for 40+ years and still trying to keep up. This can be shortened to – unfortunately, in Computing/IT, by the time you think you know what’s going on… it’s changed again. Sorry Paul but it makes the audio world seem simple, which I know it isn’t.

    Will the use of Ecosia/Bing or others like DuckDuckGo be or remain quicker/better/safer than Google – you’d be amazed at level of growth in computing as every few months pass. As the need for power and storage to do the same thing actually can go down, unfortunately folk find more to do – plus there’s more and more folk needing such resources – probably why the planet maybe coming to a human life limit?

    Although well off the audio topic, I’d be interested in what folk in this community actually see by real results with Paul’s suggestion…
    … he mentioned being ‘thrilled’, not like him not to qualify or explain at length what thrilled him 🙂

  7. On the subject of carbon: my little (maybe not so little compared to some) island is carbon neutral. Let’s hope it stays that way if the powers that be can restrain their clear-felling fetish.

  8. As CO2 levels go up so does the food harvest. It seems like nature has an adaptive way of producing more food with more people?
    When I was a kid 80 bushel corn was something to brag about. Now it takes 220+ to brag. I have light timber soil and I get 180 bushel.
    Corn absorbs about 36,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide per acre.
    I transplant pecan trees (mast bearing tree) every year. My trees can survive being weeks under the muddy Mississippi River. They learned to adapt and survive annual flooding unlike other species of pecan trees. BTW – the pecan tree is the largest of the hickory trees. Need to use a metal bit to drill a hole in it. I have one tree that is producing pecans that are 3x larger than what you find in the store. I’m now planting those seeds.

    1. While I don’t have the pecans, I have no shortage of plain ole hickory up here in the northeast.

      I don’t have the acreage for larger scale farming but manage to get in about a 1/2 acre for home grown veggies including a couple of different varieties of corn. More than enough for me…. A small orchard of fruit trees is steadily expanding.

      Being aware of ecology / earth dynamics and what effect humans or natural events can have on it is great. But until every country in the world is on board….

      In the mean time until all of my household energy demands and items I use are carbon free….

      1. If you can, fence up your orchard and let chickens be your bug killers.
        Get fresh eggs and good fruit from your trees. And fresh meat too…

  9. Check this out: Algae-powered microprocessor computer.
    The cell uses the microscopic organism Synechocystis which photosynthesizes sunlight to generate electrical current.
    Researchers hooked up the device to an Arm Cortex M0+ microprocessor, a highly efficient processor which is typically used in Internet of Things devices. It was left in semi-outdoor conditions with typical variations in temperature and sunlight, and it performed even better than the researchers expected.

  10. Well, since we are talking about privacy…does anyone have any suggestions on the use of a VPN? how effective, worth it, any suggestions on which one to go with?

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