#TeamSeas: YouTubers Raised $30 Million To Remove 30 Million Pounds of Trash From the Ocean

Light blue background with blue colored wave illustrations at the bottom and #TeamSeas logo overlay

This article has been updated to include details about the final days of the campaign and the success of cleanup efforts in the months since — congratulations to all who participated!

YouTubers all across the digital realm banded together for a good cause: saving our oceans.

TeamSeas — an initiative from popular YouTubers MrBeast and Mark Rober — asked content creators to use their influence to raise awareness about the current state of our oceans.

Their ambitious goal is to raise $30 million dollars to take 30 million pounds of trash out of the waters and partner with other YouTubers to spread the word.

Describing why they decided to be launch a campaign focused on cleaning up oceans, the creators shared: "Our ocean, rivers and beaches are full of plastic trash. It’s estimated that there are 200M tons of plastic already circulating in marine environments, with an estimated 11M tons entering the ocean EVERY YEAR. Pollution from bottles, bags, straws, and abandoned fishing gear is a health crisis for our entire planet. So we’re going to remove the equivalent of 85 football fields covered a foot deep in trash."

In a leaked private video shared with YouTube creators, creators like Hank Green, Physics Girl, MKBHD, Colin and Samir, and Safiya Nygaard expressed their support for the project, and it's expected they'll share TeamSeas videos on their channels with millions of subscribers.

In a series of tweets, MrBeast and Mark Rober said that they already had thousands of creators signed on to be a part of the collaboration — with hundreds joining in just days before the official October 29th launch date.

On October 29th at exactly 1pm Pacific time, MrBeast publicly announced the campaign in a YouTube video titled "I Cleaned The World's Dirtiest Beach #TeamSeas."

This new initiative came after a successful TeamTrees campaign that raised $20 million dollars before 2020 to plant 20 million trees in partnership with The Arbor Day Foundation. They ended up raising $23,166,880 by the end of 2020, earning more than 1 billion views across all #TeamTrees videos.

MrBeast and Mark Rober described how they spent months working with top environmental nonprofits to ensure they can guarantee that for every $1 donated to the campaign, there will be one less pound of trash in the ocean.

To accomplish this, they set out with a three-prong approach to clean up beaches, rivers, and oceans around the world. Why? Because all streams of water are interconnected and all waste — including those from rivers and beaches — inevitably ends up in the ocean.

To help clean the beach and parts of the ocean already polluted, they partnered with the Ocean Conservancy to organize beach cleanups, as well as in-ocean cleanup. 

TeamSeas is also working with The Ocean Cleanup, which will focus on rivers. 80 percent of the plastic that flows to the oceans comes from 1% of rivers in the world.

To combat this, they’ll be placing trash-collecting technology in the worst polluting rivers. This has been done with massive success in the Dominican Republic.

A boat intercepts trash on a river
The Ocean CLeanup's The Interceptor is the world’s first scalable solution for preventing river debris from entering the ocean — meaning it can be placed in the majority of the world’s most polluted rivers. / Photo courtesy of The Ocean Cleanup

100 percent of the money raised goes directly to their nonprofit partners.

To raise 30 million dollars by the end of the year, the TeamSeas campaign asked creators to upload their own videos about cleaning up the ocean.

And asked everyone — subscribers, influencers, anyone who wants to do good — to get involved by helping the videos trend. They also partnered with YouTube to curate and elevate creators who choose to participate in raising awareness for TeamSeas.

No matter the niche or demographic a content creator has, there’s some way to find the intersection of ocean conservation and their regular content. After all, what happens to the oceans affects all of us. 

TeamSeas Progress

Did TeamSeas reach their goal?

As of the morning of December 31st — the final day of the project — #TeamSeas has raised $25,630,743 USD to remove trash from oceans, rivers, and beaches.

The TeamSeas community was already 85.44% of the way to their goal of raising $30,000,000 by January 1st, 2022. (Especially thanks to an anonymous $2,000,000 donation this week.)

By midnight, TeamSeas reached their goal of raising $30,000,000 to remove 30,000,000 pounds of trash from the ocean.

Tweet:  MrBeast @MrBeast · Jan 1 WE LITERALLY RAISED ENOUGH MONEY TO REMOVE 30,000,000 POUNDS OF TRASH FROM THE OCEAN, THAT’S FREAKEN INSANE MrBeast @MrBeast Sorry for the caps it just hit me how crazy that number is though haha 8:48 PM · Jan 1, 2022 · Twitter for iPhone

On the final day of the campaign, Austin Russell, among the world's youngest billionaires, contributed 4,000,000 to the campaign. This came days after Russell launched a $70,000,000 charity fund.

"When we started this campaign 64 days ago with a wave of YouTube videos and a call to action, we had no idea where you'd take it. Today, right now, we know the answer," the TeamSeas crew shared in an email to supporters.

"30 million pounds. That's mountains of trash and plastic out of our ocean, our rivers, our beaches. Across the planet. Celebrate. Soak it up. You earned all of it."

Team Seas: 30,000,000 pounds of trash and plastic removed. 600k donors from 191 countries. $5 was the most common donation. There were 850 million views on 10,000+ videos.
Graphic courtesy of #TeamSeas

According to TeamSeas, more than 600,000 donors from 191 countries contributed to the project over the course of two months. The most common donation was $5 — proving that a lot of small positive actions can add up to a lot of impact.

More than 10,000 videos were created — and they received more than 850,000 views.

It only took 7 days for #TeamSeas to raise their first $12,956,730. Only 30 days into the project — #TeamSeas had raised $16,623,289.

How much trash has TeamSeas removed from the ocean so far?

TeamSeas beach cleanup in Cameroon / Photo courtesy of #TeamSeas

TeamSeas has committed to removing 1 pound of trash for every $1 raised. This makes keeping track of how much plastic will be removed really easy.

As of January 3rd, 2021, #TeamSeas has raised $30,282,934 to remove trash from the ocean — meaning that more than 30,282,934 pounds of trash will be removed.

The TeamSeas project isn't immediately removing all of the trash as each dollar is raised — but has committed to removing plastic and trash from rivers, beaches, and oceans in the coming weeks and months.

In a June 8th, 2022 update to supporters, the TeamSeas team announced that they had just crossed the 3,000,000 pound mark, meaning they had cleaned up 10% of their total goal.

Can I keep donating to TeamSeas?

Yes, you can continue to donate to TeamSeas anytime. The money raised will continue to go directly to their nonprofit partners, and the website will continue to update with the total number of pounds of trash removed from the ocean.

#TeamSeas (with Team Seas logo) "We did it! Now let's keep doing. Come back anytime you feel like removing some trash! 30,000,000 pounds removed"
Graphic courtesy of #TeamSeas

How To Get Involved with TeamSeas

While TeamSeas has successfully completed its goal, you can continue to support the campaign through these original action steps.

1. Watch #TeamSeas Videos

Many creators are donating the Google AdSense revenue they make from their #TeamSeas YouTube videos towards TeamSeas. By watching videos tagged with #TeamSeas, you could be financially supporting the project — with no cost to yourself. And no matter what, you'll be boosting #TeamSeas content in the YouTube algorithm and helping more people find them. Check out the more than 20,000 YouTube videos tagged with #TeamSeas.

2. Make a Donation

To support the cause, you can visit the TeamSeas website and make a donation towards the $30 million goal. Even small donations will add up to make a difference.

3. Install the Tab for TeamSeas

The team at Tab for a Cause has created Tab for TeamSeas — a browser extension that allows you to raise money for TeamSeas every time you open a new tab.

4. Create Videos and Content to Raise Awareness

If you’re a content creator, you have the next two months to make dedicated videos or content to keep the momentum going. Fill out this form to be part of their network of content creators working for this great cause. (They'll also give you access to b-roll footage, an FAQ page, and more details.)

TeamSeas says they will be active across all major platforms (like YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, Instagram, Reddit, Snapchat, and Facebook) and they're encouraging supporters to participate, create, and share #TeamSeas content wherever makes the most sense for your audience.

When you upload your video, social post, or livestream — tag your post with the #TeamSeas hashtag and direct everyone to TeamSeas.org where they can contribute and track fundraising progress.

5. Join a #TeamSeas Cleanup

TeamSeas announced that they're planning community cleanups that will bring fans and supporters together to make a difference in real life. Invitations for cleanups will be announced on Instagram and Twitter.

This initiative is a creative and impactful way to make an actionable difference in the fight against climate change that goes further than social media normally does.

Article Details

October 29, 2021 12:45 PM
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