#Team Trees Creates An Online Movement

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#Team Trees Creates An Online Movement

By Sara Momin, Assistant Community & World News Editor

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 For a decade now, scientists have warned us of the impending doom known as climate change. A rapid rise in industrialization combined with the overuse of natural resources has increased carbon dioxide emissions in the air. Consequently, the greenhouse effect- or the absorption of heat energy from the sun into the atmosphere- has caused sea levels and heat indexes to rise. Seeing the lack of response to these concerning changes, YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, otherwise known as Mr. Beast, has launched an attempt to plant 20 million trees by the end of this year in a movement known as #TeamTrees. By bringing together thousands of different types of YouTubers for this collective cause, Donaldson hopes to bring awareness to this growing problem, demonstrating the power of the internet to find a collective solution. 

 Donaldson started his YouTube career back in 2012 under the name MrBeast6000 by playing video games, which are known as “Let’s Plays”. However, his videos faded into obscurity until 2017 where his popularity rose with stunt videos. Videos such as “Standing Still for 24 Hours Straight” and “Last to Stop Running Wins $20,000” helped Mr. Beast gain more subscribers, and thus, more fame. With his rise in popularity, Donaldson has also been known for his acts of charity. He has given tens of thousands of dollars to streamers, homeless shelters, and local animal centers. 

 With Mr. Beast reaching 20 million subscribers, #TeamTrees was established with this foundation of charity. Collaborating with Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer and fellow YouTuber, Donaldson hopes to start planting trees between 2020 and 2022. Every donation from the movement goes to the Arbor Day Foundation, which plants a tree for every U.S. dollar donated. Renowned YouTubers, such as “The Try Guys” and “PewDiePie” have joined the cause and helped promote the campaign. Even entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk and producers like Alan Walker have supported the movement, with Musk donating $1,000,000 to the cause. 

 The fundraiser has created a lot of opportunities for YouTubers, even when disregarding Donaldson’s investment. Primarily, the positive attention from the charity programs contrasts the negative attention YouTubers such as Logan Paul have been receiving from drama. Also, the increase in views due to the movement help the channels involved gain popularity and thus increase revenue. Currently, the movement has crossed its halfway mark, with donations continuing to rise daily. 

“This is just another fact of this generation seeing the importance of getting trees in the ground to help the future of the earth,” Danny Cohn, Arbor Day Foundation spokesperson, said. 

 Although the movement is rising rapidly, many people question the effect of planting trees and if they will truly help climate change. However, ecologist Thomas Crowther had predicted back in February that increasing the number of trees on Earth by about a trillion would be enough to counteract a decade’s worth of human emissions.  Another question brought to light was the relaxed pace of the planned tree planting sessions. The Arbor Day Foundation answers those questions, stating that time is needed to ensure proper preservation, planning, and upkeep, ensuring that the planted trees can survive. Creating a procedure for maintaining the trees as time goes on is also important to keep the donated trees alive and well. 

 With the recent Amazon fire and rapid wildfires plaguing California, the need for trees is growing at an alarming rate. While this movement isn’t a “one size fits all” solution to climate change, the motivation of influencers to use their platform for a greater cause creates hope for the future. Suggestions have already started to appear for future environment-based projects with future subscriber benchmarks, such as cleaning up litter or purifying the oceans. Nevertheless, Mr. Beast’s campaign has taken the world by storm and is a clear example of what can happen when people rise when change is needed.