How #TeamTrees Proves the Internet Can Do Good" does a surface level analysis, ultimately portraying the movement inside its own hype bubble, failing to identify the glaring flaws and deceptive premise it thrives on.
As we near the two year anniversary of Team Trees, 23 million dollars raised, and only 8 million trees actually planted as of August 2021 (according to Wikipedia), what is there to be learned?
I think one of the first things I want to showcase is this Instagram post from December 2019 below.
Notice how it says "20,000,000 Total Trees Planted?" and yet two years later that number is estimated to be around just 8 million? Arbor Day Foundation, the organization in charge of utilizing the money raised by Team Trees began planting in January of 2020 and claims they will finish (the 20 million trees promised) by December 2022.
However, Team Trees continues to raise money, which means they're promising to plant EVEN MORE trees. There are a lot of variables that go into accomplishing their goals. That said, it is not unusual for them to take as long as they have. The issue isn't a lack of progress, but how they communicate that progress. The post above was published before a single tree had officially been planted. This single post is a true example of performance activism. The celebration of an idea before such idea is manifested into a result. Caring is a remarkably important step towards action, but by no means is it a substitute.
In a Forbes article the president of the Arbor Day Foundation, Dan Lambe was quoted saying, “MrBeast, Mark, and hundreds of other YouTube creators shared our vision of building a better world through tree planting. They used their platforms to inspire more than half a million individuals to take action for our environment.” What's important to break down in the statement is "a vision of building a better world through planting trees". While I won't dispute their intentions as ultimately everyone involved likely sought to contribute to a positive movement, intentions aren't everything. When facing the greatest threat to mankind, if you have a "platform to inspire more than half a million individuals to take action" then why not make sure that action has a considerable impact?
As Joe says in our video, planting trees is just not enough to solve the climate crisis. There are far more effective and achievable methods out there worth exploring. Team Trees could in theory integrate such methods into their movement if they truly wish to see their "vision of building a better world" fully realized.
We cover this and so much more in our Team Trees video above, but we may revisit the subject in even greater detail down the road.
Have you ever donated to Team Trees? Do you have your own thoughts on the topic? Comment on our video and let us know!