Call to replace Google with ‘green’ search engine at Brighton and Hove’s schools and libraries

A Green councillor has urged officials to start using a “green” search engine on all Brighton and Hove City Council laptops.

Councillor Hannah Clare wants Ecosia to be the default search engine in libraries and schools too, replacing the likes of Google.

Ecosia donates at least 80 per cent of its profits to non-profit organisations that focus on planting trees.

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Councillor Clare said: “If something really simple has the potential to do something really useful and really big, why wouldn’t we do it.”

She told the council’s Policy and Resources Committee that she had been inspired by a student campaign at Sussex University which had switched its default search to Ecosia.

And that since 2009 Ecosia has planted more than 70 million trees, funding projects across the world, including in areas of deforestation in Indonesia.

Councillor Clare said: “Indonesia has lost an estimated 25 per cent of its rainforests thanks to palm oil plantations which has then affected wildlife as a result – orangutans being a key example.”

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She also described how in response to the loss of Amazon rainforest in Brazil it had pledged to plant two million trees next year, double this year’s total.

She added: “We’re not going to save the entire rainforest by changing out search engine. But we can have an impact.”

She told the committee, which met at Hove Town Hall, that the internet was the biggest coal-fired machine on earth.

She added: “We’re not going to stop climate breakdown through adjusting our internet usage.

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“But we can make a dent through moving towards something as simple as planting trees.”

The council is currently bringing in Microsoft Windows 10 software across its IT systems and said that changes would be considered once this was complete.