University of Sunderland campaign to get eco-focused search engine Ecosia on campus

Sunderland could be the first university in the North East to get an eco-focused internet search engine on campus.

University staff member, Matty McKenna, is campaigning to get Ecosia as the default browser on all campus computers, following the lead of universities in Sussex and Exeter.

The free browser uses profits made from internet searches to plant trees across the globe. With seven million users to date, since 2009 Ecosia has planted over 50 million trees, removing 2.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The idea, which has been put forward to the Students Union, needs to reach 20 ‘likes’ from students, in order to get the official backing of the Students Union Executive and be carried forward.

Student Engagement Officer, Matty McKenna, explained: “Environmental protection has always been something that’s on my radar. The forests are the main lungs of the planet, without them I feel like we’ve got less of a chance of sustainable living.”

Student Engagement Officer, Matty McKenna is behind the campaign

Mr McKenna is hopeful that students will get behind it. He added: “It’s something tangible, they can actually see the difference. I would hope it would make students proud, that Sunderland would be the third university in the country to get it on campus.”

Monica Price, Senior Lecturer in Environment at the University of Sunderland, commented: “It’s a very positive thing to plant trees because those trees will grow, they will take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and hopefully reduce global warming.

“There’s an awful lot of biodiversity that we can improve by planting native forests. It’s not just a tree you’re planting, it’s all the other plants, animals and insects that goes with it.

She continued: “It has to be something positive. Sunderland should be seen as world-leading in terms of environment.”  

Mandi Purvis, President of Wellbeing at the Students’ Union has shown her support. She said: “To know that trees are being planted in the areas of the world where they are most needed while you are browsing the internet is fantastic. I support this initiative on behalf of the student voice and would encourage others to do the same. All students need to do is go onto our website and click ‘like’ on our make it happen page. Let’s get this up and running.”

The campaign has two weeks to reach its target.

Click here to show your support.

Visit the Facebook page for more information.

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