“Teamtrees,” false hope or environment saving initiative?

2 years ago Triangle 0

Written by: Jonathan Ecarma, staff writer

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Teamtrees” is a recent charity movement started by YouTubers Jimmy “MrBeastDonaldson, and former NASA engineer Mark Rober. The initiative’s main goal is to raise $20,000,000 dollars to help the environment by planting 20,000,000 trees around the world. They plan to start the planting process by the beginning of 2020. But, will this actually be enough to help the environment or is it just a big publicity stunt?                                                                                             

The Teamtrees initiative is heavily publicized and supported by a large amount of people and influencers on social media. The money contributed to Teamtrees goes to the Arbor Day Foundation, who pledges to plant one tree for every dollar donated. 

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Founder Jimmy Donaldson crouching over a tree planted for Teamtrees.

Their mission statement involves three things: replanting our forests, Tree City USA and community tree recovery. 

The first part of their mission statement, “replanting our forests,” involves restoring habitats and ecosystems by replanting damaged areas of the nation’s forests. 

“Tree city USA” involves people and cities benefiting from cleaner air, shade, lower energy costs and storm water control from the trees planted.

And lastly, “community tree recovery,” will involve the local community  in bringing “healing and hope” to local communities after natural disasters.

 In the last five decades, the Arbor Day Foundation has helped plant more than 350 million trees worldwide. 

However, 15 billion trees are cut down yearly. 

With that in mind,  the Teamtrees initiative is not doing as much as people are led to believe, considering how many trees are cut down and replanted each year by the forestry industry. These initiatives tend to use “alarmist” language about the amount of trees in America today, when in fact we have more trees today than we did 70 years ago. They also tend to lead people on as if they are saving the environment and stopping climate change.

Something else that should be taken into consideration is that trees are not the world’s main source of oxygen. 70% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere comes from the tiny ocean plant, phytoplankton, commonly called “blue green algae.” Another 28% is from the rainforests, and the other 2% is from other sources, such as trees from outside the rainforests. Ultimately, Teamtrees is not helping the environment as much as the public are led to believe.

To date, Teamtrees has raised $15 million, with many YouTubers  showing support for this initiative through social media platforms, like YouTube, Twitter and Reddit. Most of the community is rallying behind this initiative, with many of the most popular posts being about or related to Teamtrees

This continued support has led millions of people on the internet to donate to the cause. Along with this, there are many influencers in today’s culture that have decided to donate, such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who donated $1 million and Shopify CEO, Tobi Lutke who contributed just over $1 million to the initiative. These two have received positive publicity on the internet for this.

Teamtrees continues to bring hope to people on social media through the use of alarmist language, and leading people to believe that they are making a big difference to climate change and the world, when they are doing neither.

*Note: this article expresses the ideas and opinions of the author and are not a reflection of the views of the Triangle or Bryan College as a whole.

Jonathan Ecarma is a huge sneakerhead, ‘90s hip-hop enthusiast, urban streetwear fan, and an Avatar: The Last Airbender fan. Jonathan is a senior in highschool, and a dual-enrollment student at Bryan College. He is a staff writer for the Triangle, who enjoys writing about media, entertainment and pop culture.