In May, YouTuber Jimmy “MrBeast” Donaldson launched #TeamTrees, a climate change campaign to raise $20 million to plant 20 million trees by 2020.
On Tuesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk pledged a million dollars to the tree campaign, nearly 10 times more than the next-largest donation. But Musk’s time atop the donor list was short-lived — on Wednesday, Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke made a pledge of his own: a million and one dollars.
The bit of one-upmanship between the two ultra-wealthy CEOs didn’t stop with the tree donations, either.
After making his pledge, Musk changed his Twitter handle to “Treelon,” and Lütke is now going by “Tobi ‘Lorax’ Lutke” on the platform, a reference to Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax,” a book about an eponymous creature who claims to “speak for the trees.”
In February, ecologist Thomas Crowther told The Independent that trees are “our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change” because they suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Increasing the number of trees on Earth by about a trillion would be enough to counteract a decade’s worth of human emissions, Crowther predicted.
Given that enormous figure, it’s hard to say what concrete impact a comparatively meager 20 million trees could produce. But if nothing else, Donaldson’s campaign — and its high-profile donors — is at least drawing attention to the potential of using trees to undo some of the damage we’ve inflicted upon the planet.
READ MORE: Team Trees celebs: From Jeffree Star and Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke to Elon Musk [The Evening Standard]
More on trees: Elon Musk Donates a Million Dollars to Plant a Million Trees