October 28, 2019 2 min read

Team Trees: An Innovative Approach to Funding Reforestation Through Social Media

Anything that gets more trees in the ground is a great idea! And while all too often we may be tempted to brush off social media as a serious channel through which a tangible positive impact can happen, it definitely has its shining moments.

When a YouTube Celebrity called Mr. Beast – known as a viral philanthropist who executes ridiculous stunts with big payoffs – wanted to celebrate his 20 millionth subscriber milestone, he asked his community what he should do. Their response? Plant 20 million trees! The mission quickly gained traction with many fans promising their support. And while Mr. Beast kicked off the initiative, his level of influence has also helped the campaign grow to become a YouTube community effort where other creators are jumping on board to spread the message far and wide. 

A fellow YouTuber named Mark Rober even joined the campaign by collaborating with DroneSeed to plant some of the trees via drones.

Most of these trees will ultimately be planted by the Arbor Day Foundation over a 2-year period, and the key component with any large-scale reforestation project is to ensure that the trees thrive. That goes far beyond just planting them. In order to succeed at such an effort, land prep would need to be conducted in some areas, local support put in place for coordinating seedlings and supplies, and making sure the trees are planted properly. There would also need to be a plan in place for monitoring the trees over time and conservation methods mapped out in order to protect the young seedlings as they grow. This is truly a huge undertaking and even if all 20 million trees don't grow up to become mature trees someday, there will be a positive effect for nature, the climate, and biodiversity. 

So why are trees having such a glam moment?

Perhaps it's because abundant research on trees shows that we could greatly reduce global carbon emissions by restoring 1 billion hectares of land through reforestation. Maybe because the latest headlines of forest fires around the world, wildlife extinction due to habitat loss, and extreme weather events are finally waking us up to take bigger action. Or perhaps it's simply obvious: trees are one of the best natural solutions we have to restoring degraded environments. Either way, trees inspire us to do all we can for a healthier future. 

While One Tree Planted’s projects are funded by other means, we are fully in support of YouTube’s tree campaign and are excited to see what other creative and tech-savvy solutions to the climate crisis are on the horizon.  

We plant trees on 4 continents around the world. Want to choose where yours are planted?

by Diana Chaplin

Canopy Director & Eco-Storyteller