BY: LISA CUMMING
Tree planting is no picnic. The hours are long and the work is quite literally backbreaking.
Unfortunately since the early 2000s, wages earned from tree planting have been dropping rapidly. This drop could be attributed to anything from declining worker productivity to inflation in tree prices. Once upon a story, these high wages were what kept attracting seasonal planters year after year.
Fifteen years ago a seasonal tree planter in British Columbia could expect to make upwards of $300 a day. This compared to what comes out as a province-wide average of $16 per hour reported in 2014 is seen as a significant gap.
Tree planting is also piecework, so that average mentioned above doesn’t necessarily apply to every worker.
Declining wages most definitely results in a declining amount of workers. This is unfortunate because there is a chance to do amazing work for the environment; there are just not enough people to do it.
British Columbia is also just one area where there is a significant need for tree planters. Looking at countries overseas from Canada and the United States, where both man-made and natural disasters have ravaged the land, there are even less trees being planted.
Preserving our home planet is a top priority, and reforestation is one of the key ways to do it.
In an area like Burkina Faso, in Africa’s Sahel region, there has been more than a half-century long drought. The land is barren and trees are few and far between. A search engine is hoping to physically change that, and also change how you think about what it takes to save the environment.
Ecosia is the search engine that is planting trees in Burkina Faso. Every time you use the engine, 0.5 cents is made through advertising revenue. This half-cent profit is then put towards planting trees that cost 28 cents (EUR). The engine currently provides the funds to help plant one new tree every 24 seconds, and they’ve already planted over 2,500,000 trees.
While you, as the searcher, don’t physically put in the work to plant a tree, you are helping local community members in Burkina Faso make a sustainable living for themselves through tree planting. So not only are you helping the environment, but you are helping people to re-start their lives.
Tree planting in this particular region could potentially restart the water cycle, which could lead the plants and animals back to the Sahel. With a greener environment there will be less health problems, and hopefully less violent conflict over scarce resources.
Ecosia donates at least 80 per cent of their surplus income to tree planting efforts and they also publish proof of donation receipts for full transparency.
You can count on getting accurate searches because results from Yahoo and Bing are only enhanced by Ecosia’s own created algorithms.
Ecosia is slack-tivism at its absolute best. We all share the same Earth, so why not take the engine out for a test run and do some good in the process.