This YouTube Star Started An $8 Million Tree-Planting Campaign In Less Than A Week

mbg Editorial Assistant By Jamie Schneider
mbg Editorial Assistant
Jamie Schneider is the Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen with a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan. She's previously written for Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.

Image by Blue Collectors / Stocksy

In the latest news from young people combating climate change, a YouTube star has started a campaign to plant 20 million trees in honor of his 20 million subscribers. The campaign only started last week, and it's already raised over $8 million.

Needless to say, we're giddy over here at mbg. 

The star's name is Jimmy Donaldson (famously known as his online alias, MrBeast), and despite the campaign's instant buzz, he didn't actually have this idea in mind when he wanted to celebrate this milestone. In true Gen Z fashion, he was inspired to save the forests by a meme posted on a Reddit thread. 

"Petition for MrBeast to plant 20 million trees for 20 million subscribers special and single-handedly save the earth," a fan posted along with a Lisa Simpson presentation meme. And that was it—the buzz began, and Donaldson was motivated

"They wouldn't let it go," he said in a statement. "All my video comments were about trees!"

After connecting with fellow YouTuber and former NASA engineer Mark Rober, the two reached out to the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit conservation organization, to help them materialize this campaign. And thus, #TeamTrees was born—from a random Reddit post to a global climate change initiative

The plan is outlined like this: After its official launch last Friday, the Arbor Day Foundation started raising funds for their reforestation program that seeks to plant trees around the world. Fundraising will continue through December, and the first trees will be planted in January (in warmer climates such as Florida and Texas). The organization will eventually plant trees in every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Of course, not every tree will survive, but the Arbor Day Foundation is way ahead of it—they've already predicted (and planned for) a 3% mortality rate.

And because Donaldson has such a following of young YouTube users, the campaign has received tons of smaller donations (from about 20 million fans, I would expect). The star has also recruited fellow content creators like Ninja, Marshmello, Jeffree Star, and Joey Graceffa to help promote the #TeamTrees initiative. These contributions (along with a $1 million contribution from Elon Musk) value the campaign at a whopping $8 million—in just seven days.

"This is by far the fastest climb to $8 million in individual, single donations that the Arbor Day Foundation has ever seen," Arbor Day Foundation vice president Woody Nelson recently told Business Insider. "Just to have it be so viral and to get so many small donations from individuals… It's just making so many people feel really good."

While we shouldn't stop here—there’s still tons of work to be done in order to mitigate climate change—planting 20 million trees sure is a great way to start. And if YouTube stars like Donaldson are using their global platforms for these important initiatives, perhaps the younger generation is discovering unique ways they can take action and ultimately spark change

Good work, MrBeast.

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