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  • Writer's pictureSAMANTHA WOODKE '20

A Christmas Gift for Earth

While many eagerly anticipate Christmas as a time to unwrap gifts from under the tree, the holiday season also provides the opportunity to give back-- and what better way to do that than to do it for the planet that already gives so much to us?

The global climate crisis is in need of a solution. The excess of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing the Earth to warm at an alrming rate, and one especially culpable compound is carbon dioxide, or CO2. If only there existed a magical machine that could suck this compound straight out of the air, or perhaps even something that could take the carbon dioxide and convert it into a gas useful to humans, like oxygen…

Surprise! This machine already exists -- and it’s called a tree. Planting trees is a simple way to contribute to the fight against climate change, and one effort has made it even easier for people to give this gift to the environment.

#TeamTrees is a collective partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to raise funds for planting trees where they are needed around the world. One tree is planted for every dollar donated, and the goal is to raise 20 million dollars by 2020.

The initiative started in May of this year, when popular YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, better known as “MrBeast,” was challenged to commemorate his 20-million subscriber milestone by planting the same amount of trees. After months of collaboration with a fellow creator, Mark Rober, Donaldson publicly launched #TeamTrees at the end of October with the hopes of making his vision a reality.

The campaign gained publicity after the well-known technology entrepreneur Elon Musk donated an astounding one million dollars, encouraging others to follow in his footsteps. Mr. Simcoe was joined by his AP Environmental Science students in doing just that, and strangers from around the world continue to support the cause with donations both big and small.

The collaborative effort of the global community managed to raise a total of 16 million dollars within the first month. While this is partly due to large contributors like Elon Musk, it is more significantly a result of the small actions of many; every dollar, every tree, has an impact. You can have an impact.

With less than a month left in the year, now is the perfect opportunity to donate to #TeamTrees, even if only a dollar. This Christmas, while you sit around your tree and exchange gifts with loved ones, remember what that tree once did for you-- and consider giving back.

#christmas #environment

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