By now, everyone is very well aware of global warming and other environmental issues. Greenhouse gases are warming the atmosphere at alarming rates, causing catastrophic effects. Deforestation has resulted in a higher buildup of CO2. An american YouTuber, Mr. Beast (Jimmy Donaldson), has recently created the ambitious project, Team Trees, in hopes of having a positive effect on the crisis.
Mr. Beast is a popular YouTuber with more than 25 million subscribers. He is known for his impressive and unique videos and challenges. Some of his videos include donating thousands of dollars to strangers, buying a house for a homeless man, and giving away expensive items such as cars and electronics for free. His videos also include more trivial stuff such as reading every word in the dictionary in one sitting, spending 24 hours in various locations, and counting to 100,000 in a single video.
Many of Donaldson’s fans have spammed him on social media with memes and requests for him to plant 20 million trees after reaching 20 million subscribers to help fight global warming. On October 25th, Mr. Beast uploaded a video titled Planting 20,000,000 Trees, My Biggest Project Ever. The video announced the initiative titled Team Trees, and explained that for each dollar donated, one tree would be planted. Team Trees is a collaboration between Donaldson and fellow YouTuber Mark Rober, who have partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to create the project. The goal is to raise enough money to plant 20 million trees before 2020, providing only two months to reach the goal. “We want to show that YouTube isn’t just a drama fest, that we actually have real influence and can make real change,” says Donaldson.
Team Trees has received lots of support around the globe. Only a few days following the announcement, CEO of Tesla Elon Musk donated $1,000,000. Shortly after the CEO of Shopify, Tobi Lütke, donated $1,000,001. Even the CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, supported the cause and donated $200,000. It only took six days to raise $10,000,000, quickly reaching the halfway point. At the time of writing, nearly $15,000,000 have been donated.
The plan is for the Arbor Day Foundation to plant the trees in January, after all the donations had been collected. The planting will start in areas with warmer climates and will expand to areas of every continent except Antarctica.
Despite the positivity and support Team Trees has received, many are stating the project isn’t as easy as Donaldson and other YouTubers are making it seem. Scientists respond to Team Trees by saying most of the trees will die quickly if they are planted carelessly and not given proper care. They say it may be more effective in the long run to plant a few trees and give them lots of care. The Arbor Day Foundation is aware of this, but they predict only 3% of the trees won’t make it. Many also accuse Donaldson of using the project as a way to seem like a better person by using big numbers. They claim it is easy to make yourself look like an amazing person by showing off how many trees you have planted to help the environment.
Regardless of these accusations, Donaldson continues to advertise Team Trees in hopes of a positive change regarding the environment. He says in his announcement video, “We only have one Earth, and it’s important we take care of it”. He is determined to prove to people that YouTubers are capable of using their influence for good, even if it’s just spreading a good message in the end.
You can make a donation to TeamTrees at teamtrees.org.