As the Amazon rainforest continues to burn, internet users are turning to Ecosia, the eco-friendly search engine that dedicates a majority of its ad revenue to tree planting.
According to reports, the Google rival saw an increase of 1,150 percent in daily downloads for both the app and the browser extension.
Ecosia Experiences Spike in App, Browser Extension Downloads
The Berlin-based ethical company normally receives an average of 20,000 mobile apps and browser extension downloads per day. However, on Thursday, Aug. 22, Ecosia was downloaded 250,000 times.
If this sudden surge of popularity continues over the next couple of days, the search engine will have been downloaded 1 million times in August alone.
"We had our team meeting and people were, on the one side, very happy because of the numbers but also very sad because of the forest fire," said Christian Kroll, chief executive of Ecosia, in an interview with Business Insider. "So it's both exciting and a tragic occurrence."
He added that the tree-planting search engine was the top-ranked iOS app in Brazil on Thursday. It also ranked highly in several international markets.
Kroll revealed that several Brazilians are working for the company. The search engine has planted over 60 million trees in sites around the world, including Brazil
In July, Ecosia pledged that it will plant 1 million additional trees in Brazil over the next six months as a response to the new policies that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro since he was sworn into office in January.
The Amazon Is Burning
According to environmental groups, since Bolsonaro took over, the deforestation of the Amazon has increased dramatically as the administration favors agricultural expansion over environmental protection. Imazon, a non-governmental group that has been monitoring the rainforest for two decades now, said that deforestation increased by 20 percent between August and April.
Environmentalists believe that the current fire ravaging the Amazon was started deliberately to clear the land for cattle farming. Brazil is the largest exporter of beef in the world.
Brazil rejected $20 million offer from G7 countries to help stop the fire.
Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world. It is home to 10 percent of the world's known species and 350 ethnic groups. About 17 percent of its cover has been lost in the past 50 years.