A group known as ‘Yes Trees UCC’ are currently campaigning to add a new search engine programme to every Student IT Centre computer in UCC. The search engine, known as Ecosia, plants trees using revenue generated through advertising sold on the service.
The campaign’s Facebook page received more than 50 likes within 24 hours of being set up in early January. The campaign team have reached out to UCC’s Deputy and Campaigns Officer, Kate Moriarty, for assistance with developing a referendum to implement Ecosia. The search engine has already planted nearly six million trees worldwide, and continues to plant more each day. Efforts to raise awareness of the campaign have been similarly eco-friendly, with the campaign re-using the blank sides of 84 outdated posters collected around UCC.
The campaign argues that, given UCC’s status as the world’s first green campus, adding the search engines to all student computers is the obvious next step in its efforts towards maintaining that eco-friendly position. As students at UCC make thousands of searches every day on computers across the university, implementing Ecosia would have a significant impact on the environment. Per the campaign’s Facebook page, “t’s a no-brainer that a Green Campus should promote the best use of these searches for tree-planting, rather than corporate profits. There is a big opportunity for students to make a big difference by doing nothing other than what they’d already do anyway.”
The campaign hopes that, if UCC adopts the tree-planting search engine, other universities and colleges would soon follow, triggering a positive domino effect. In order to call a referendum to implement Ecosia, the campaign will have to obtain signatures in favour of the referendum from 500 students. We contacted students involved in the campaign for further comment, but they were unable to respond before the editorial deadline.