YouTubers joined together to combat climate change by planting 20 million trees
via MrBeast / YouYube

Humanity has a lot of work to do to reverse the environmental damage that's led to climate change.

Obviously, the best thing to do is to reduce our collective carbon footprint, but there are things we can do to remove carbon currently in the atmosphere. One of the best ways is by planting trees.

"Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO2 and other pollutant particulates, then store the carbon and emit pure oxygen," the Arbor Day Foundation says on its website.

A tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester one ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old. So although it would take about ten trillion trees to completely reverse the effects of climate change, every little bit helps.

RELATED: Last time America faced a man-made climate crisis we planted trees — hundreds of millions of them

YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, known as MrBeast, was recently challenged by his fans on a Reddit forum to plant 20 million trees to celebrate reaching 20 million subscribers on his channel, and it looks like it may become a reality.

Donaldson is best known as YouTube's most popular philanthropist, giving away over a million dollars to random strangers on the media platform. He's also performed random stunts such as riding from North Carolina to L.A. in the same Uber and paying people $10,000 to eat ghost peppers.

Over 600 YouTubers and social media influencers have joined Donaldson to launch the #TeamTrees project that he hopes will raise over $20 million by the end of 2019 and plant 20 million trees.

All donations from the project go directly to the to the Arbor Day Foundation.

via Team Trees


"Recently, lots of not so great things have been happening to forests. People keep making fun of our generation for retweet activism and not actually doing something, which is why we created TeamTrees.org," Donaldson said in a statement.

RELATED: Planting 1.2 trillion trees could reverse a decade of climate change. Here's how to do it.

In the first six days the project has brought in over $11 million.

SpaceEx CEO Elon Musk made a massive $1 million donation.

He was quickly outdone by one dollar by the founder and CEO of Shopify, Tobi Lutke.

via Team Trees

While 20 million trees won't reverse the effects of climate change the campaign by the YouTubers is a great example of what can happen when like-minded people with platforms pull their supporters together for a common cause.

It's also a great way to expose younger people to the benefits of tree-planting.

"Just to be clear, we all realize 20 million trees won't fix climate change. 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," Donaldson said.

Make your donation at Team Trees.


Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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