Mr. Beast reduces effect of plastic in ocean through #TeamSeas fundraiser


Mateo Cole

In collaboration with popular science Youtuber Mark Rober and Youtube community, Mr. Beast starts #TeamSeas fundraiser with the goal of reducing effects of plastic in the ocean

Isabel Sim , Features Editor

Miles of plastics stretch on before them as far as they can see, littering the sand and blocking out any sign of flourishing life on the beach. Beyond the sand, a castle of plastic floating in the ocean, the waves slowly ebbing and pushing it onto the shore. Another castle can be seen just beyond the one approaching the shore. Just beyond the castles of plastic, however, is a group of people, Youtubers, scientists, volunteers, who are hacking away at the mounds of trash on the same, picking the pieces up by hand and placing them in garbage bags as part of a clean-up. On the other side, near the rivers, two men stand near an inceptor, a machine that feeds plastic into its mouth from the rivers for it to be disposed of later. 

To reduce 30 million pounds of trash by January 1, 2022, Youtube creator Mr. Beast, along with popular science Youtube creator Mark Rober partnered together to create the #TeamSeas campaign, which is operated on the organization’s website Similar to Mr. Beast’s 2020 campaign #TeamTrees, the fundraiser works so that for every one dollar donation, one pound of trash is removed from the sea, whether it be through ocean-cleanups or through Interceptors, solar-powered, self-automated machines designed to remove plastic from rivers. However, although the fundraiser’s campaign video is shown on Mr. Beast’s official Youtube channel as is a different video also campaigning the fundraiser on Mark Rober’s official channel, both creators make it clear that they are not alone in spearheading the project. Ocean environment organization the Ocean Cleanup, leading experts and researchers in the field of environmental clean-up, the volunteers to work at the beach clean-ups, as well as the many YouTubers who decided to support the cause take a major part towards the goals of the campaign, but so does the interest of every person who chooses to pitch in, whether they are a part of the Youtube community or not.

Half of the money raised goes towards funding volunteer beach cleanups around the world as well as fishing abandoned fishing gear (called ghost gear) from the ocean, while the other half goes toward the Inceptors, which pick up trash from the ocean twenty-four hours a day non-stop, powered by the sun and allowing the fish underneath it to swim freely. As a result, the two YouTubers create their videos on their channels. Mr. Beast and his group, which consists of Chris, Chandler, and Kyle, along with dozens of volunteers, are tasked with picking up as much trash as they can on the beaches of the Dominican Republic. Mark Rober, on the other hand, is tasked with overseeing the Inceptors with its creator, Boyan Slat, the founder of the nonprofit organization Ocean Conservancy, working towards the goal of creating an ocean environment that is safe and clean for its inhabitants. 

Slat became inspired to start the organization while scuba diving more than a decade ago in the waters of Greece. While exploring the underground world beneath the surface for the first time, he realized that the amount of trash in the ocean greatly outnumbered the amount of wildlife. 

“I was just so disappointed by that that I thought, ‘Why can’t we just clean this up?” Slat said. “That kind of just started a few things for me.”

While talking to the people in the towns near the beaches, Rober realized that the reason that so much trash was flowing into the oceans through the canals was that the people in the towns did not have the financial means to create a system in which trash was effectively disposed of. Therefore, trash was liable to build up over time until it overflowed onto the beaches. 

“It’s so important to practice mindful activism while advocating for a cause because not everyone has access to the same opportunities or has the means to do something that would normally be very easy for someone who is privileged,” sophomore Brian Ung, who has been an avid follower of Mr. Beast, said. “Usually when people think of pollution, the first thing that comes to mind is how destructive humans are. That’s true, but simply blaming the situation on humans ignores a much greater problem that is inequality.”

Youtubers Hank Green, Physics Girl, MatPat, MKBHD, Veritasium, Safiya Nygaard, and many other creators from all over the world as well as creators from other social media platforms have come together to voice their support for the cause. What the fundraiser also needs, however, to reach its goal of removing 30 million tons by the end of the year, is support from the individual as a part of the community. As Mark Rober puts it in the last moments of his #TeamSeas video, “Everyone agrees that trash and plastic don’t belong in our beautiful oceans”. Although both creators are aware that TeamSeas will not end the problem, they have faith that people will be able to come together to show that they care about the ocean. Rather than going no further than the simple re-tweet, their hope is that more and more people will be educated on the effects plastic can have on the oceans and what the solutions are. More than creating a safe environment for the ocean, the creators hope that the project will show that people do care about the ocean and that they are willing to go beyond a simple donation to come together for a cause that they all believe in. 

Mark Rober and Mr. Beast fan Rebecca Moon (10) says that “seeing what a group of people can do from all over the world,” who “have never even met each other before” made her realize that individual acts can bring about positive change when put together with others. 

“I usually think, ‘Oh, it’s just one person. What does it matter?’ I soon realized that one person’s actions does matter because it sets an example for others.” 

Rober recommends spreading the word of the fundraiser to others to increase awareness. He says that suggesting to one’s class to support the cause as a group would bring about more positive change, which can be done through using the site’s “team” option when donating.