On Thursday, October 2nd, MrBeast ‒ a YouTuber with over 25 million followers whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson ‒ sent out a tweet calling for Oregonians to meet at the Springfield Station at 7 a.m. the next morning. The tweet was sent at 3 p.m. and contained no other information than the fact that close-toed shoes were required and food would be provided.
Most people couldn’t rally ten college students to get up and arrive at 7 a.m. on a Friday, but MrBeast isn’t most people. With one tweet less than a day in advance, hundreds and hundreds of teenagers and college students arrived in the dark at the Springfield bus station at 7 a.m., and from there, 100 of them were taken to an undisclosed location by bus.
So what were they headed to do?
Back in May, MrBeast asked his subscribers what he should do to celebrate hitting the 20 million subscriber mark. Two Reddit memes later, he decided that he was going to plant 20 million trees to help tackle the issue of global warming.
After loading up on the buses, MrBeast and 100 of his followers from the Springfield and Eugene area headed out to an empty field nearby, where they spent the whole day digging and planting 1,700 new trees.
While 1,700 trees is nothing to scoff at, it’s nowhere close to the 20 million trees that MrBeast had set as his goal. But the video, which was filmed right here in Eugene, now has over 32 million views.
Using the video and his platform as a creator, MrBeast started #teamtrees and teamed up with the Arbor Day Foundation and other huge YouTubers to try to reach his goal of 20 million trees.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to planting and nurturing trees around the world. When they partnered up with MrBeast, they agreed that for every dollar donated, one tree would be planted and cared for.
Since the video, the donations have come tumbling in. MrBeast started off by donating 100,000 dollars, and dared someone to top it. Alan Walker, a Norwegian DJ, then donated 100,001 dollars, which MrBeast topped with another donation of 100,002 dollars and a dare for someone to top him again. As of now, five other individuals have contributed larger amounts.
Jean-Michel Lemieux, the chief technology officer for Shopify, donated 100,100 dollars ‒ which translates to $ in binary ‒ with the caption “We are Groot. For sneaker Twitter.”
Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of Twitter, donated 200,000 dollars, and Jack Dorsey, the CEO and co-founder of Twitter, donated 350,000 dollars.
But the two biggest donations by far came from Elon Musk and Tobi Lutke. After hearing about the project, Musk, the founder of SpaceX, Tesla and PayPal tweeted out “Ok, sounds legit, will donate 1M trees.” He then proceeded to donate one million dollars by himself, with the note under the donation reading simply “for Treebeard,” a character from Lord of The Rings.
Less than a day after Musk’s donation, Lutke, the CEO and founder of Shopify, donated 1,000,001 dollars to celebrate Shopify’s one-millionth merchant with the caption “For the Lorax.”
As of today, 13,018,188 trees have been planted and the trend doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon. YouTube agreed to donate a million dollars, and on November 5th, the number one trending video on YouTube was titled “I plant 20,000,000 trees in Minecraft.” The video was created by PewDiePie, the world’s largest YouTube creator, who donated 69,420 dollars to #teamtrees.
MrBeast is truly using his platform for good, and there isn’t a more fitting place to kick off a movement like this than right here in Eugene, Oregon. If you’re also interested in donating, visit teamtrees.org.