The Twenty-Million Tree Task


Night Media

Jimmy Donaldson and friends planting trees.

Kobi Khong, Photojournalist

It all started with a single comment. By October 25th, it was a global sensation. Youtuber Jimmy Donaldson, known by his internet alias “MrBeast,” organized a campaign with fellow Youtuber and former NASA engineer Mark Rober to launch a fundraiser with the goal of planting 20 million trees before January 1st, 2020. The donations received by the Arbor Day Foundation will go towards planting one tree for every dollar donated, with the total 20 million trees planned to occupy nearly 45,000 acres.  


The Arbor Day Foundation, which was founded in 1972, is a nonprofit conservation organization specifying in planting trees across the world, and has been credited with planting over 350 million trees across the world. According to organizers at the foundation, the twenty million trees will be sown in high-need forests and every continent on the globe excluding Antarctica by December 2022. However, the work doesn’t end at the simple establishment of saplings, as climatologists and horticulturalists of the organization have vowed to continue within the maintaining and growth of the trees in order to ensure a sustainable beneficial effect upon the environment.


Across the Youtube platform as well as the internet as a whole, people have joined in the campaign, with over 600 Youtubers contributing to the initial launch, donating money and posting videos under the hashtag #teamtrees; leaders within the field of internet entertainment such as Rhett & Link, iJustine, Simone Giertz, and Simply Nailogical have helped spread awareness and supported the campaign with their large audiences, even leading to the YouTube corporation has even offered to cover any costs of transaction fees for all donations. However, the fame of the campaign has brought it to the attention of people outside of just the “YouTube bubble,” drawing awareness to people from all backgrounds. Large donors include many Chief Executive Officers of many prominent organizations such as Tobias Lutke of Shopify, Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX, Marc Benioff of Salesforce, Jack Dorsey of Twitter, and even Susan Wojcicki of YouTube. As of November, the total amount of funds raised by Team Trees is nearing 15 million while only being less than a month into the campaign’s duration. 


When asked about his opinion on the campaign, Raymond Nguyen (12) said “It’s amazing to see that there’s such a widespread movement to help the environment, taking care of our planet is such an important thing for our generation and planting trees is a great way to do so!”


In the end all we can do is do our best to make sure we can “leaf” the next generation a sustainable world, one tree at a time.