To combat the climate crisis, a coalition of YouTubers has joined together for a mammoth mission to plant 20 million trees beginning in January 2020. Called #TeamTrees, the reforestation campaign has social media all abuzz. They have, so far, raised enough funds to plant more than 8 million trees, and that number is rising.

How did it all start? When YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, or MrBeast, reached the 20 million subscribers milestone on his YouTube channel, which is dedicated to extreme stunts and philanthropic challenges, his subscribers dared him to plant 20 million trees to commemorate the occasion. The campaign quickly went viral.

Related: Scientists confirm tree planting is our best solution to climate change

“People keep making fun of our generation for retweet activism and not actually doing something … this is your chance to make a difference,” MrBeast said to his supporters. “Just to be clear, we all realize 20 million trees won’t fix climate change. But at the end of the day, 20 million more trees is better than zero! We want to take action because doing nothing is how we got here!”

Upward of 600 YouTube creatives have since joined the #TeamTrees initiative, even rallying their subscribers to follow suit with the planting trees endeavor. To date, these social media influencers have a combined total of 650 million subscribers, double the United States population. 

Each $1 donation plants a single tree. In the first 48 hours of the #TeamTrees website going live on October 25, the initiative raised more than $5 million — and the funds keep growing.

All donations are sent directly to the Arbor Day Foundation, the nonprofit devoted to tree planting. For almost 50 years, the nonprofit has planted 250 million trees worldwide. Trees funded by the #TeamTrees endeavor will be planted across the globe beginning January 2020. The Arbor Day Foundation anticipates a December 2022 completion date; the year 2022 will mark the 150th anniversary of the first Arbor Day.

To promote successful tree survival rates, the Arbor Day Foundation will partner with the United State Forest Service, the National Park Service and the National Association of State Foresters to ensure the trees planted will not be invasive species. The trees chosen will be native to the region in which they are planted, many in national forests managed by government agencies.

To speed up the process, the #TeamTrees campaign is entertaining a collaboration with DroneSeed, a company that deploys drones to plant trees in a scalable fashion. Small drones first map out the landscape, followed by larger drones that drop seed vessels at locations ideal for growing trees.

Additionally, this eco-friendly YouTube collaboration is flooding the platform with tree content. The #TeamTrees coalition hopes to game the algorithm and push for more environmental videos to rank at the top of the recommended playlists. With tree videos trending next to cat videos, Mother Nature would be proud.

+ #TeamTrees

Via The Guardian

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