#TeamSeas Reaches 15-Million-Pound Milestone

We’re halfway to our goal!

I remember when I first heard about the #TeamSeas campaign. It was March 2020. Two YouTubers by the names of MrBeast and Mark Rober approached Ocean Conservancy to talk about their idea to create a major social movement for the ocean, based on their incredibly successful campaign, #TeamTrees. Their idea: For every dollar raised, a pound of trash would be removed from our beaches, rivers and ocean. It sounded incredibly cool and then … the pandemic hit. 

Flash forward 18 months, and I was on a beach with these YouTubers, working alongside thousands of volunteers to clean a beach that would feature in MrBeast’s launch video for #TeamSeas. In four days, with the help of our longtime International Coastal Cleanup® partner in the Dominican Republic, Vida Azul, we removed more than 60,000 pounds of trash from two beaches. Local residents told us they had never seen those beaches so clean. 

Just a week and a half after that beach cleanup, MrBeast and Mark Rober launched #TeamSeas. It was the number-one trending topic on YouTube and Twitter the day it launched, and MrBeast’s launch video for #TeamSeas stands at 98 million views and counting. The fundraising goal of 30 million dollars was reached in two short months. It was the biggest thing to put ocean conservation into the public conversation ever!

Now, the campaign is more than halfway to the #TeamSeas goal of collecting the 30 million pounds of trash. Ocean Conservancy and our International Coastal Cleanup partners have orchestrated more than 1,200 cleanups with more than 100,000 volunteers across 63 countries. There have been #TeamSeas cleanups from Bermuda to Bangladesh, Germany to Guyana, Peru to the Philippines. 

The volume and scale of the cleanups are impressive, no doubt! But what impresses and excites me more is that a whole new generation of ocean advocates has been created and, most importantly, inspired to act. I do beach cleanups for a living. It’s my thing. And I’ve had friends and family members talk to me about cleanups for the first time, thanks to the publicity generated by #TeamSeas. I’ve read the stories of homerooms organizing a fundraising drive to get more pounds of trash out of the ocean. I’ve seen firsthand the excitement from volunteers when MrBeast and Mark Rober showed up to clean a beach alongside them. I am hopeful that the excitement and passion that #TeamSeas has created is the start, not the end, of the journey for millions of people who want to do something positive for the ocean and their communities. #TeamSeas has shown us what’s possible. 

#TeamSeas group photo

What’s Next

In the coming months, Ocean Conservancy and our partners will organize cleanups in high conservation-impact locations, like UNESCO Marine World Heritage Sites. These often remote and hard-to-reach locations are also impacted by trash and plastic pollution, like almost every location on Earth from Mt. Everest to the Mariana Trench. We’ll also work with our partners to remove discarded or abandoned fishing gear (also called ghost gear), one of the most prevalent and deadly forms of debris in the ocean. 

How You Can Help

If you’re one of the millions of supporters who helped make #TeamSeas a reality and want to take that next step on your ocean conservation journey, we could use your help. In the coming months, countries are hammering out the details of a once-in-a-lifetime global plastics treaty to reduce plastic production and pollution. Ocean Conservancy will be advocating hard for ghost gear to be included in the treaty. If you want to make your voice heard, visit our action center

And coming soon is Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup—the entire month of September. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been to one cleanup or a thousand, cleanups are among the best ways to get involved in your community and see firsthand the problem of plastic pollution. Just make sure to download Clean Swell®, Ocean Conservancy’s data tracking app, so that you can record the amount and type of trash you collect. That data informs all the work we do to address plastic pollution before it ever reaches the ocean or a waterway.

Congratulations and THANK YOU to everyone who helped get 15 million pounds out of our ocean through #TeamSeas! Here’s to 15 million more. 

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