MrBeast and his posse of YouTuber pals announced the project in a YouTube video in late October. The crew started out by planting 2,000 trees with the help of fans from their area who volunteered to help plant the trees. However, MrBeast quickly realized that planting 20 million trees by Jan. 1 (to celebrate having hit 20 million YouTube subscribers earlier this year) was out of his reach without seriously scaling up the project.
So after doing some research, MrBeast partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to launch #TeamTrees, where every dollar donated would go to planting a tree, in hopes of reforesting the Earth. Over the past eight weeks, a slew of powerful Silicon Valley CEOs helped draw attention to the project by making sizable donations.
Just a few days after #TeamTrees kicked off, Elon Musk of Tesla donated $1 million to the cause. One day later, Tobi Lütke, the CEO and founder of Shopify, one-upped him by kicking in $1,000,001. Jack Dorsey, CEO and founder of Twitter, donated $150,000 around the same time — but after witnessing his two fellow executives donate millions, he donated another $200,000. MrBeast himself donated $200,002, and a few other influencers and companies — including Jeffree Star, Verizon's Green Team, and the Discovery Channel — chipped in, too.
“We know 20 million trees won’t cure climate change but this is a clear message that we care about our planet and about each other,” Matt Fitzgerald, Campaign Director for #TeamTrees, said in a statement sent to Green Matters. “Solutions are all around us and it’s time to get to work. #TeamTrees is here for it. This is just the beginning.”
"#TeamTrees, we did it!," the official #TeamTrees account wrote on Instagram to celebrate the milestone. "20 million trees — in less than two months — is an incredible accomplishment and it belongs to all of us."
The post also lets followers know that even though the 20 million goal has been reached, you can still join #TeamTrees and contribute — and fans are certainly listening. As of Friday morning, Dec. 20, more than 20,237,000 trees have been planted.
There are so many benefits to planting trees — as long as they are done so responsibly, and properly maintained. When well taken care of, trees can absorb significant CO2 from the atmosphere. When there is less CO2 (or any greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere, less heat gets trapped, and it prevents the Earth from warming.
As an Arbor Day Foundation spokesperson told The Verge in October, the foundation only works with tree-planting partners who make sure to plant native tree species, and who are transparent about their plans to maintain the trees. “We are proud to have partnered with #TeamTrees and are humbled at the outpouring of support,” Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation, said in a statement sent to Green Matters. “We recognize the trust that’s been placed in us. Now it is time to begin carefully planting these 20 million trees all over the world.”
You can donate as little as $1 to #TeamTrees by visiting teamtrees.org.