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What is #TeamTrees and how did YouTube persuade Elon Musk to donate $1 million in trees?

By Jonathan 19 November 2019

Over the past year or so voices from the younger generation have become more prominent in trying to find ways to deal with climate change. Much of this has come from the YouTube community, with one of its most popular stars starting an ambitious campaign to plant 20 million trees to raise awareness. It’s a movement that continues to gather momentum and one that we believe is very important, so in this blog we’ll tell you more about campaigns like #TeamTrees and the impact it is having on the world around us. At the time of writing this article they have enough to plant almost 16 million trees, so they are well on course to beat their target. 

What is Team Trees?

Many of the people involved in Team Trees are young and passionate about making a change to the environment and none more so than MrBeast. 

MrBeast (real name Jimmy Donaldson) is a popular YouTuber known for giving away hundreds of thousands of pounds to well-deserving charities, and after recently reaching 20 million followers on the platform, a fan challenged him to take on his biggest project yet.

It started with a simple Lisa Simpson meme on Reddit which said MrBeast should plant 20 million new trees to ‘single-handedly save the planet’. The idea quickly gained momentum and blossomed into the #TeamTrees movement. 

He teamed up with American YouTuber Mark Rober, an inventor and former NASA engineer, who helped MrBeast launch the fundraiser. The campaign went live on October 25th 2019 with MrBeast laying out his plan in this explainer video

Where and when will the trees be planted?

For every one dollar donated to the Arbor Day Foundation  – one of the largest non-profit conservation organizations in the world – one tree will also be planted. Fundraising will continue until the end of the year, before the planting of trees begins in January 2020 which will eventually include every continent in the world except Antarctica. 

The trees will be planted in a variety of forests, many of which will be at state or national level and managed by various government agencies. Given the scale of the project, private and public lands in areas of great need will be given priority. 

The aim is to plant all 20 million of the trees no later than December 2022. You can keep up with the latest count by visiting (and donating) to the Team Trees project here.

It has been estimated that planting 20 million trees will cancel out the emissions of around 95,000 cars. A total of 180 km2 (69 sq. mi) of land around the world will benefit from the arrival of these new trees. 

This is a fantastic achievement, although as anyone involved with the Team Tree project will confirm, it isn’t the sole solution to the world’s climate change problems. They see this as a great way to raise to raise awareness and to encourage more people – of all ages – to become more active in helping the environment. 

Who else is involved with Team Trees?

The exciting thing about the Team Trees campaign is it has united the YouTube community in a way never really seen before, with competing channels teaming up to contribute to the campaign. As MrBeast said himself, he wanted to create “the largest YouTube collaboration of all time.” Donaldson put his money where his mouth is and has given $100,002, while co-founder, Mark Rober, donated $50,000. 

Other stars such as PewDiePie ($69,420), Jeffree Star (£50,000), Jacksepticeye ($20,000), Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins and wife Jessica ($15,000), Cristine Rotenberg of Simply Nailogical ($12,000) and countless others have all contributed, while a growing number of philanthropists and tech entrepreneurs are pitching in with some serious donations.

For example, within the first week an amazing $8 million had been raised (including a $1 million donation from Elon Musk) – which guaranteed the planting of at least 8 million new trees. Musk even changed his name to ‘Treelon’ for a short period of time after Donaldson gave him the new nickname when the donation was announced. 

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has pledged to donate 350,000 trees, while YouTube are also offering a million, and Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke has contributed $100,100. Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, said he was inspired by Musk and donated $900,000 to the campaign. 

Aside from all of these fantastic donations, the rest of the money has been raised via ongoing small donations made by YouTube’s huge audience and others who have learnt about the campaign online. 

More than anything, it’s an amazing way to raise awareness about the changes that need to be made to help our ailing planet. In order for real, meaningful change to occur, big decisions are going to have to be made by governments and large corporations to cut back on carbon emissions.

Why the big fuss about planting trees?

There is currently an estimated 3 trillion trees on Earth. Which sounds like more than enough, right? Well, unfortunately not. Especially when you consider there used to be six trillion trees on the planet.

Since the first Industrial Revolution (around 1780) humans have produced 205 gigatons of carbon. That is equivalent to around one trillion trees. Trees help to absorb CO2 and carbon dioxide emissions, cleaning the air we breathe and helping to sustain life on our planet – and not just for humans.

Tree planting is something we are big believers in at Get Laid and were recently able to celebrate the planting of over 25,000 trees in Africa. We work in conjunction with the International Tree Foundation (ITF) who aim to plant 20 million trees in Kenya by 2024. 

We’re passionate about the environment and only use sustainably sourced Scandinavian Pine from FSC and PEFC approved forests. That means every time one of our beautiful bespoke wooden beds are purchased, we plant a brand new tree to help our planet. 

To donate to the Team Trees campaign you can visit their website or the Arbor Day Foundation Facebook page.

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Our current tree planting focus is in the Lower Imenti Forest near Mount Kenya National Park in Kenya, Africa. A variety of species will be planted in partnership with the International Tree Foundation (ITF). These trees will be for Agroforestry and Reforestation projects to help local communities live a better life.

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