On October 25th YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, known as Mr. Beast on YouTube, announced a plan to plant 20 million trees. Donaldson, friends, and fellow YouTuber Mark Rober spent an entire day planting 300 trees. The following day they brought out an even larger group and ended the day at 1700 total trees planted.
They realized that this goal wasn’t something achievable on their own and decided to team up with the Arbor Day Foundation, and so Team Trees was born. Between now and through 2020, one tree will be planted for every $1 donated through the organization’s website.
Donaldson and Rober aren’t the only YouTubers promoting this cause, videos encouraging the public to donate to Team Trees have popped up all over the website. Many Youtubers have donated thousands of their own money to the cause. As of the writing of this article, $14.9 million has been donated.
Wealthy CEO’s are also getting involved, Elon Musk (Tesla, Space X) and Tobi Lutke (Shopify) have each donated $1 million to the cause. Donaldson himself donated $200,000 and Rober donated $50,000. Now, tens of thousands of people have donated and some are taking their support to other social media platforms.
Elon Musk has changed his Twitter handle to “Treelon” and Tobi Lutke has changed his to “Tobi ‘Lorax’ Lutke” as an homage to Dr. Suess’s tree saving character. One store on Shopify has gone so far as to sell stickers of Lutke with a Lorax beard and eyebrows, from which the proceeds with be donated to Team Trees.
But what will 20 million trees actually do for the environment?
North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture website has a list of the impact that trees have and it is long and impressive. You might think that trees are important simply because they provide oxygen, but they do so much more.
Trees reduce air temperature by blocking sunlight and from water evaporating off their leaves, one tree has the same effect as 10 air conditioners. Trees also create an ecosystem, according to the YouTube channel The Infographics Show, one mature oak can be home to 500 different species. That means 20 trees is like a small city for animals and insects.
Now to the obvious, trees provide us with oxygen. Just one tree can store 13 pounds of carbon dioxide, according to the College of Agriculture. One acre of trees can store 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide. If 20 million trees were planted just 10 feet apart that would be roughly fifty-thousand acres storing well over one-hundred thousand tons of carbon dioxide each year.
Now, you might be thinking, “Why would we need that much storage for carbon dioxide?”
Each gallon of gas used produces 20 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. For every ten-thousand miles you drive, it takes 10 trees to remove the carbon dioxide. But all of this is just scratching the surface of what trees do for us.
While 20 million trees might not reverse climate change, it’s a step in the right direction for the planet.
If you’re interested in donating to Team Trees go to: https://teamtrees.org/