5 things we learnt at Web Summit

The Ecosia team visited Lisbon last week for Web Summit, a huge tech conference that saw industry giants and start-ups from all over the world convene to share ideas.

Environmental activism was a leading theme, with its own dedicated stage called Planet Tech. The message was clear: the tech industry must mobilise itself to tackle the problem of climate change.

From breakthrough social business models to ideas for feeding a growing population, here are five of our favourite talks.

We need more responsible entrepreneurs

You may already know Patagonia, an outerwear company that puts environmentalism at the heart of its business. The brand's climate head Rick Ridgeaway received a standing ovation for an inspirational talk in which he called for entrepreneurs to follow their higher purpose in life. In the case of Patagonia, that's protecting the planet – whether that's suing Donald Trump for threatening public land or challenging the problem of global consumption in its own advertising.

The tech sector can solve climate change

Christiana Figueres was the driving force behind the Paris Climate Accord in 2015, and she's back to deliver some hard truths on global temperature increases. But this problem also presents many opportunities and could create as many as 65 million jobs. In this talk, Christiana reveals that exponential change is required to halt climate catastrophe – and how no industry better understands distruption on this scale than the tech sector.

Governments must step up to protect our data

Whistleblower Christopher Wylie critisized governments for not understanding the internet well enough to regulate it in this talk, in which he explains the threats to our personal data owned by industry giants such as Facebook. A must-watch for anyone concerned about protecting their privacy online.

"Eggs" can be made from plants

We already knew that our current demand for animal products carries grave envionmental consequences. But we didn't realise that mung beans could be the solution! During Web Summit Josh Tetrick of plant-based food company Just enlisted the help of Chef Kaimana Chee for a live cooking presentation. The result? A vegan omelette that could empower communities around the world to make more sustainable choices.

The industry has love for Ecosia

Our CEO Christian opened the Planet Tech stage with a talk about our bid to buy the Hambach Forest, our social business model and our recent tree-planting projects. He even kick-started a new hashtag – #MayTheForestBeWithYou!

We partnered with Web Summit to plant a tree for every attendee – that’s 70,000 in total! We'll be planting the trees in Senegal, where we're helping farmers to install forest gardens that can provide their families with food and revitalise degraded land. Follow our journey through Senegal on Instagram!

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