Two YouTube stars, MrBeast (aka Jimmy Donaldson) and Mark Rober, have launched a crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise $30 million to remove 30 million pounds of trash from the ocean as well as rivers and beaches around the world.
The #TeamSeas campaign will support the efforts of two organizations: Ocean Conservancy and The Ocean Cleanup. Half of the money will go toward the Ocean Conservancy’s beach cleanup programs, which enlist volunteers to hand-remove trash from beaches.
The other half will go to The Ocean Cleanup’s river debris extractor called the Interceptor. There are currently three Interceptors deployed in high-pollution rivers: the Cengkareng Drain in Jakarta, Indonesia; the Klang River in Klang, Selangor, Malaysia; and the Rio Ozama, Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. However, in the next five years, The Ocean Cleanup is aiming to deploy Interceptors in 1,000 rivers worldwide.
In the videos announcing #TeamSeas, Rober and Donaldson visited the Dominican Republic to check out the Interceptor and lead a team of volunteers on a beach cleanup. Together, the robot and volunteer team removed over 100,000 pounds of trash over four days — a great start, but a long way from 30 million.
For every dollar donated, one pound of trash will be removed from the ocean. YouTube Originals pledged to match the first $400,000 in donations.
Thousands of content creators in over 145 countries will promote the effort, including AzzyLand, DanTDM, TommyInnit, LinusTechTips, Hannah Stocking, Dhar Mann and Marques Brownlee (aka MKBHD). Combined, the promoting channels have more than 1 billion followers.
MrBeast has over 74 million YouTube followers, while Rober has over 20 million. The former has gained mass popularity for his elaborate stunts (like spending 50 hours buried alive and going through the same drive-thru 1,000 times), while the latter is a former NASA engineer who does outrageous stunts of his own and showcases his new inventions, like a snowball machine gun.
This is the second environment-focused philanthropic endeavor by Donaldson and Rober. In 2019, the duo launched #TeamTrees, which had a goal of raising $20 million to plant 20 million trees.
The campaign, which was carried out in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, was the largest YouTuber-led fundraising event on record. It ended up raising over $23 million and even now, two years later, teamtrees.org continues to receive donations — enough to plant around 2,600 trees every day.
The campaign is set to last through January 1, 2022. A month into the campaign, it is over halfway to its goal with more than $16 million raised. Rober and Donaldson have said they’ll keep the website active and give updates on the cleanup efforts over the next three years.
“Of course, we know #TeamSeas alone won’t solve this issue, but it sends a strong message that young people are hungry and willing to go beyond just retweets to raise awareness,” Rober says in his announcement video. “We can be a catalyst for positive change in this world.”