by Andy Xie
Imagine walking through a city where buildings are everywhere you look. Now think about those buildings as trees. How many trees would replace those buildings? That’s right, a lot. Now imagine there being 20 million trees planted in the span of less than a year? How would this be even possible?
Recently, the YouTube community developed a fundraiser to plant 20 million trees before the year 2020, with the #Teamtrees hashtag. Many Youtubers have already participated in this momentous movement that may mitigate the change in climate by creating videos about how planting trees would affect the Earth.
This fundraiser was founded by a Youtuber called “MrBeast.” He has gained subscribers for infamously throwing away large sums of money by rewarding people who win his internet challenges.
In the beginning of the year, his fans created memes for “MrBeast’s” celebration of his upcoming 20 million subscribers. Many of his fans called him out to celebrate this milestone with planting that many trees and, funny enough, with many months of planning his idea came to fruition. He has teamed up with the Arbor Day Foundation, a non profit organization who make sure that trees have an extreme and high survivability rate.
Climate change has been the topic of the century, and yet it is still not believed to be true. Climate change is a drastic change in global temperature. This change is usually from the effects of greenhouse gases that mostly come from human actions. For example, burning coal and fossil fuels emit harmful pollutants into the air. Water vapor and carbon dioxide make up most of the earth's atmosphere. With this, the earth’s temperature rises, creating an outbreak of climate change that would soon be irreversible.
If greenhouse gas emissions don’t stop or decrease, the Earth’s temperature would rise and result in climate change. According to nasa.org, the Earth’s surface temperature has risen 1.62 degrees since the late 19th century. The warming of the Earth has increased in the past 35 years. With the recent global temperature rise, glaciers would melt and sea levels would rise. Between the years 1996-2016, Antarctica lost 127 billion tons of ice per year and this has tripled in the last decade.
Many may be wondering, so what? How is planting 20 million trees going to solve any of this crisis? This is not important to our daily lives, so what do I care? In some cases, this is true, planting 20 million trees may not do anything to solve climate change. As MrBeast tweeted, “Just to be clear we all realize 20 million trees won’t fix climate change.” Yet he also states, “...But at the end of the day 20 million more trees is better than 0! We want to take action because doing nothing is how we got here!” The belief is that planting trees would help slow climate change. Under the same tweet, the user Ecosia, whom is a search engine that plants trees, argues that, “Right now there's 300 gigatonnes of CO2 in the air. Covering the available land on our planet with trees (0.9 billion hectares) would store 205 gigatonnes of CO2. So we'd be damn close.” During the photosynthesis process, plants take in the carbon dioxide we humans breathe out to make oxygen for us to breathe in. With carbon emissions rising, it’s essential for more trees to be planted and reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. In addition, it’ll be difficult to reverse back these changes if climate change goes unnoticed and no one does anything to mitigate it. There will be harsher storm patterns, unexpected natural disasters. Especially when the Earth is being warmed from the increase of greenhouse gasses.
Climate change is real. “MrBeast” wants people to be aware of the dire situation we are in and how planting trees can help. If not, the next generations will have to deal with it. So go help #Teamtrees.