• The Earth & I Editorial Team

YouTubers Raise $30 Million for Ocean Cleaning Non-Profits


Mark Rober from 2020. ©Countingmagic/Wikimedia Commons
Mark Rober from 2020. ©Countingmagic/Wikimedia Commons

Jimmy Donaldson (YouTuber MrBeast) and Mark Rober (former NASA engineer and YouTuber) partnered up with non-profits Ocean Conservancy and The Ocean Cleanup for an ambitious goal: raising $30 million by the end of 2021 to remove thirty million pounds of trash from the oceans. MrBeast and Rober began their fundraiser under the name, “#TeamSeas,” as they posted videos on YouTube on October 29, 2021; as of this month, they have garnered total views of more than 55 million and 24 million, respectively.

Jimmy Donaldson from 2018. ©Leon Lush/Wikimedia Commons
Jimmy Donaldson from 2018. ©Leon Lush/Wikimedia Commons

The fundraiser reached its $30 million mark after a $4 million donation from billionaire entrepreneur Austin Russell, filling in the final gap after donations by over six hundred thousand individuals toward the cause. #TeamSeas states that the funds will be split 50/50 to Ocean Conservancy and The Ocean Cleanup.


Ocean Conservancy collaborated with #TeamSeas through its “Fighting for Trash Free Seas®” program, in which volunteers traverse lakes, rivers, and beaches around the world and gather trash. Trash is weighed using Ocean Conservancy’s “Clean Swell®” application.

Volunteers at the International Coastal Cleanup in 2012, hosted by the Ocean Conservancy. ©USEPA Environmental Protection Agency, Flickr
Volunteers at the International Coastal Cleanup in 2012, hosted by the Ocean Conservancy. ©USEPA Environmental Protection Agency, Flickr

Meanwhile, The Ocean Cleanup collaborated with #TeamSeas through its building, deployment, and operations of its “Interceptor” technology to pick up trash in rivers. Boyan Slat, founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, said, “TeamSeas fits perfectly into our mission to rid the oceans of plastic and we’re honored to be part of this campaign. The donations raised from this campaign will help us implement more Interceptors around the world and curb the flow of riverine plastic into the oceans.”


Although thirty million pounds of trash (including plastics) is insignificant compared to the ten million tons (twenty billion pounds) of plastic dumped in the oceans annually as estimated by Ocean Plastics, MrBeast and Rober were able to spread the message of cleaning up our oceans far and wide to their audiences. This will hopefully lead to a higher demand for systemic change to address garbage and plastic at their source.



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