Started by Youtubers in May, the #TeamTrees movement set out to plant 20 million new trees by Jan. 1, 2020 but with the help of people on Guam and throughout the world that timeline was beat.
The Arbor Day Foundation announced that on Dec. 19, at 3:28 p.m. CT, #TeamTrees — a viral social media campaign driven by YouTube creators Jimmy Donaldson (aka MrBeast) and Mark Rober – reached its goal of raising $20 million to plant 20 million trees around the globe. Launched on Oct. 25, the campaign is the largest crowdfunding effort in YouTube's history and one of the fastest-growing environmental fundraising initiatives to date, the press release stated.
Through donations for which every dollar donated equals one tree planted, Team Trees and the Arbor Day Foundation have reached their ambitious goal.
Guam played it's part with many donors, including $1,000 from the St. John’s Environmental Club.
However, this does not mean that donations will stop. The website will remain open and encourages people to “come back anytime you feel like planting a tree!”
How it started
The seed that would become the #TeamTrees campaign was planted when the online community challenged 21-year-old YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson – aka MrBeast – to plant 20 million trees to commemorate hitting 20 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, according to the press release. His Gen Z fans then suggested he join forces with other online influencers, such as Mark Rober – a fellow YouTuber and former NASA scientist - to drive awareness. The duo engaged the Arbor Day Foundation to make this lofty goal a reality, knowing that the organization had recently launched the Time for Trees initiative and has organized tree planting programs of global proportions in the past.
"#TeamTrees is a prime example of youth leadership – especially the Gen Z 'Change Generation' – moving beyond retweet activism and harnessing the power of social media to address key societal issues," said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. "The 20 million trees planted through this campaign will absorb and store 1.6 million tons of carbon, the equivalent of taking 1.24 million cars off the road for a year."
More than half-a-million individual donations were collected over the course of 56 days. Inspired by this grassroots movement, industry tech leaders, including Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke, donated between 200,000 to 1,000,001 trees each.
"When Mark (Rober) and I started this campaign, we couldn't have predicted the incredible support #TeamTrees would receive," said Jimmy "MrBeast" Donaldson, YouTuber and philanthropist. "From hundreds of YouTube creators, to the biggest names in Silicon Valley, to kids holding bake sales, a huge team came together to make this possible. This is a big win for the planet."
The final list of all planting locations is still being created but it has already been determined that the first wave of tree planting projects will be distributed throughout the U.S., Europe and Africa. All trees funded through #TeamTrees will be planted by December 2021.
The trees will be planted across the globe in a variety of forests on both public and private lands in areas of great need, including state and national forests managed by government agencies, the release stated.