MrBeast’s Tree Planting Campaign Inspires Fans

Will Bavier, Opinion Editor

YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson is an internet sensation known for presenting his acts of charity in creative and elaborate ways. After reaching 20 million subscribers, he has paired with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 20 million trees by 2020, an act that could help save the planet from the effects of climate change. Increased access to self expressionism and fame has been abused by many YouTubers similar to Donaldson, but this YouTuber uses his influence purely for good.

Previously, Donaldson, also known as “MrBeast,” had garnered fame through theatrical, weirdly wholesome challenges, such as giving out $1,000 to homeless people or delivering pizza to random houses. His biggest project yet, #TeamTrees, has kicked off with over 300,000 donations, racking up 8.2 million dollars. Teaming up with the Arbor Day Foundation and YouTuber Mark Rober, Donaldson now calls upon entire communities and subcultures to help out, proving how much effect one person can have over the planet through the use of multimedia platforms.

The YouTube community is one of the main donors in this event, as fans and YouTube stars alike dish out money to plant their own tree. Jimmy Donaldson is showcasing his online charity in an efficient and ambitious manner. He explained his efforts and motivations for this project in his announcement video. “We only have one Earth, and it’s important we take care of it,” he says. “People keep making fun of our generation for ‘retweet activism’ and not actually doing something, which is why we created this [fundraiser].”

Teaming up with the Arbor Day Foundation and YouTuber Mark Rober, Donaldson now calls upon entire communities and subcultures to help out.

Anyone across the world can participate in #TeamTrees with a few clicks, and the “one dollar donated, one tree planted” plan has encouraged huge progress only days after the fundraiser started. He has linked the #TeamTrees fundraiser on all of his social media accounts and has gotten other major figures in society to do so too—Elon Musk, chief engineer/designer of SpaceX and well-known entrepreneur, has donated one million dollars, even changing his Twitter account name to “Treelon.” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki pitched in to plant some trees of their own. These prominent public figures have drawn even more attention to the cause and sent waves of support throughout Twitter and Reddit. The reverberation of influence, when used correctly, can greatly add to Donaldson’s cause and others like it.

Trees are critical, and we need them to remove pollutants from our air and to improve the quality of life for people and animals around the world. Research from North Carolina State University says that the average tree eliminates 48 pounds of CO2 in a year, reaching one ton of carbon after 40 years. At that estimate, 20 million trees could consume 480,000 tons of CO2 per year, and although tree planting isn’t a magic button that will solve our problems, it can certainly help, especially given the current deforestation happening as a result of fires in the Amazon.

Jimmy Donaldson may initially seem like a pushover or a fame-hungry charlatan, but many around the world believe that this goliath of a goal can be accomplished. His plan will only work, however, if it gains continued support. If taking the first steps towards saving the planet requires all of our help, why not start with a tree of your own?

This piece also appears in our November 2019 print edition.