Ecosia, the world’s largest not-for-profit search engine, has stepped in with an unsolicited EUR 1 million offer to save the last remaining stretch of the Hambach Forest in Germany.
The fate of the 12,000 year old forest hangs in the balance after a regional court on Friday temporarily halted German energy company RWE’s plans to cut down the Hambach Forest for the expansion of the country’s largest coal surface mine.
Ecosia, a Berlin based startup, has used the advertising revenue generated from its search engine to plant close to 40 million trees in 19 planting sites globally.
Ecosia’s CEO, Christian Kroll, said the search engine’s users had been vocal on the topic of finding a way to permanently save the Hambach Forest.
On Saturday 50,000 people demonstrated at the Hambach Forest and RWE’s coal mine calling for Germany, the world’s largest producer of lignite, to speed up its coal exit plan.
Ecosia’s German Country Manager, Génica Schäfgen said the Hambach Forest did not need to be cut down to secure Germany’s energy supply.
Kroll said the company’s decision to put in a bid for the forest was not made lightly.
The fight for the Hambach Forest is not a new one, with activists living for six years in forest treehouses before they were finally demolished last week by North Rhein Westfalia police.
Ecosia’s Tree Planting Officer, Pieter van Midwoud said Broadleaf forests used to cover 80% of Germany but very few like the Hambach Forest still exist.