Proposal to plant 20 million trees takes root

Jamar Kittling and Mauricio Granera

Team Trees came through with its promise to plant 20 Million Trees. (TeamTrees.org)

Last October, internet influencer Jimmy Donaldson, also known as MrBeast, decided to plant 20 million trees. Donaldson, a YouTuber known for his philanthropy and videos of his expensive stunts, originally made the claim to celebrate reaching 20 million subscribers on Youtube after his subscribers suggested it.

To assist with this goal, Donaldson partnered with former NASA engineer and fellow YouTuber Mark Rober and the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to planting and caring for trees.

From this partnership spawned the program and fundraiser TeamTrees, in which the Arbor Day Foundation has vowed to plant one tree per U.S. dollar donated to the website. The Arbor Day Foundation started planting trees in January and plans to finish no later than December 2022.

The fundraiser was remarkably successful. Since the start of the fundraiser on Oct. 25, 2019, more than 800,000 people donated over $22 million to the TeamTrees program. MrBeast uploaded a video on Dec. 28 announcing the success of TeamTrees and expressing his gratitude. According to MrBeast, 20 million trees spaced 8 feet apart has the potential to wrap around the circumference of the Earth. The Arbor Foundation has strategic projects to plant trees around the globe. The areas that are being targeted are ones that will restore the ecosystem to benefit the wildlife and people.

Among these projects includes planting 100,000 trees in the Willamette Basin in Oregon and 50,000 trees in the Bladen Lakes State Forest in North Carolina, which are already underway. Other significant projects include Australia and the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil, which has recently seen massive conflagrations and deforestation.

A future project includes California, because of the 2018 wildfire season that devastated most of the state. The Arbor Day Foundation has plans to plant 100,000 trees between July and December of this year.

What was a joke turned into an effort of global proportions. TeamTrees is still accepting donations, planting a tree for every additional dollar. The current top donor that beat Elon Musk by a dollar, billionaire and entrepreneur Tobi Lutki, who stated his $1,000,001 donation was: “For the Lorax.”