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Guild to Lobby UoB to Adopt Ecosia as Default Search Engine
The Guild of Students will be campaigning to have Ecosia made the default search engine on all University of Birmingham computers.
The decision follows a successful lobbying campaign by student group UoB on Ecosia.
Ecosia, a German search engine founded in 2009, donate around 80% of their advertising profits to organizations that fund reforestation.
Matthew McKenna and Callum Finn, two members of the group, told Redbrick that the University of Birmingham has a ‘responsibility to enact positive change to help fight the climate crisis.’
‘It is not only important to do this due to the material difference it will make, but a student led campaign will signify that the student body stands in opposition to senior management’s current mantra of profit before planet.’
Students have condemned UoB for investing heavily into fossil fuel companies and have encouraged the university to adopt more eco-friendly policies.
Rachel Kenyon, creator of the “University of Birmingham Fossil Free” campaign said:
“Too many UK universities, including the University of Birmingham, support the fossil fuel industry directly through their research, their endowments and investments and their partnerships with some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world”.
UoB on Ecosia argue that ‘setting Ecosia as the default search engine is one small, easy step the University can take to mitigate the effects of their failure.’
The University of Birmingham’s Sustainability Policy states the University aim to ‘embed core aspects of sustainable development in all [they] do, whilst ensuring minimal damage to the natural environment’.
However, the policy makes no reference to the environmental impact of their investments into fossil fuel companies.
McKenna also led the Ecosia Campaign at the University of Sunderland and successfully lobbied the Uni to make the switch in October of last year.
He claims 9,000 trees have since been planted since by a student population of 13,000.
According to Johnathon Porritt, Chancellor at Keele University: ‘There are still too many universities who do not give sustainability the attention or significance it deserves.’
The International Union for Conservation of Nature warns that over half the tropical forests worldwide have been destroyed due to deforestation since the 1960s which has threatened the survival of many species and impacted the lives of 1.6 billion people.