#TeamTrees: Extending an olive branch to the environment

Nicole Bolla ‘20, Opinion Editor

There is a phenomenon that is taking social media by storm; it has affected pop culture in such a way that it may never be the same. On Oct. 25, YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson (known online as Mr. Beast), decided to continue practicing what he is famous for: large-scale, expensive and crazy stunts. This time, however, Donaldson decided to collaborate with another YouTuber, Mark Rober, and launched #Teamtrees. #Teamtrees is a movement to raise 20 million dollars to plant 20 million trees by Jan. 1, 2020. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and people immediately started flocking to the website to donate as much as they were able to. Soon, celebrities and large organizations such as Elon Musk, Susan Wojcicki (CEO of YouTube), Felix Kjellberg (Pewdiepie), Jeffree Star, Verizon Green Team, and some government officials from Ukraine, took note of the rising popularity in donating and flooded into the ‘top donors’ list, donating anywhere from 25,000 to 1,000,001 trees. 

As of Dec. 11, #Teamtrees has raised 17,774,455 trees with 22 days left until the deadline hits. “I think it’s really important that all of these celebrities are acting as environmental role models and their audiences can follow suit” president of the Eco Club and SLHS senior, Natalie Mac said. The extreme popularity of the movement has caused some members of the scientific community to ask one simple question: what will planting 20 million trees actually do for the environment? “Each tree planted will save an estimated 4 kg of carbon per year,” The International Tree Foundation said. Scientists and the rest of society alike both agree that planting 20 million trees will do wonders for the environment. It may even kick off more climate change movements in the future. However, a scientific blog entitled ‘Interesting Engineering’ voiced some concerns from others in the science community: “If those many new trees were planted, they would need to take over land that could be used for crops or pastures, which would curb food production.” The issue with planting 20 million trees is finding the space to put them where it will not interfere with society, specifically our farmland. Needless to say, planting 20 million trees is causing much discourse and controversy in the science community and with the days counting down to Jan. 1, only you can decide if it is worth donating or not.


Photo by Rolf Hicker


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