How pet pictures for a good cause turned out to be a hoax

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Adelaide Wolfe

Senior Adelaide Wolfe posted an Instagram story of her cat Marmalade.

Alyssa Smith, Social Media Manager

Pet pictures for a good cause is something almost everyone can get behind. Over four million Instagram users recently shared a picture of their beloved pets thinking posting their furry friend would plant a tree.

Instagram’s new “add yours” feature allows users to share photos to their story with prompts like “post photos of your childhood best friend” and “A picture from when you were genuinely happy.” This new feature was a big hit among Instagram users, who posted all kinds of memories for their followers to see and do the same. 

A recent “add yours” post sparked a trend that involved users posting a picture of their pet that would result in planting a tree. The account @plantatreeco originally posted a story using the add yours feature with the caption “for every pet picture we will plant a tree”. 

This caused an outpouring of users posting photos of their animals, and many PV students participated. Senior Adelaide Wolfe plans to study environmental science in college, “I love my cat and I love the environment so I thought sharing a picture of him would also help the environment,” she said. This trend appealed to all kinds of animal lovers and environmentalists.

This caused many to wonder who was planting these trees and how they were doing so.Instagram account @Plantatreeco revealed they were behind the post and that they do not have the resources to plant enough trees. The company claimed they recognized the project would become too big and deleted the post after only 10 minutes. 

Even though they deleted the post, the number of pet pictures kept climbing with people assuming they were contributing to the environment. In an attempt to find a solution, the company started a fundraiser to gain funds to plant trees. The fundraiser money is not going to @Plantatreeco but instead a bigger company  @Treesforthefuture. With $34,428 being raised so far, the goal is to raise $1,000,000 to go towards planting trees. 

Users became frustrated upon finding out this project was full of empty promises. ¨It made me feel upset because I thought I was doing something good but it was just a scam,” Wolfe explained. The news of no trees being planted led many to investigate the project further. 

Twitter user Patrick Marlbourough posted a thread uncovering the details behind the @Plantatreeco” He revealed the business had little credibility and almost no information and proof behind their projects. 

He took it upon himself to investigate the company, and found that the profits of their products like bracelets go to helping a charity.“Created in 2021, there is very little info on their actual website. Nothing about who they are, their vision, their staff or how they do what they claim to be doing. 6,500 trees planted through, somewhere, somehow, no info on either. Nothing,” he explained on Twitter. 

Across the globe, many are looking to protect the earth and better the environment and will do whatever they can to try and support it. This becomes a marketing opportunity for many companies looking to profit off people’s love for the environment. Some companies “greenwash” and try to make their products look more sustainable than they are. This has left many wondering about Plantatreeco’s true intentions. 

The company the fundraiser money is supposed to go to, Treesforthefuture, said they have no affiliation with Plantatreeco. This leaves people even more confused wondering where this money is going if it was not organized beforehand. 

The idea of money and time supposedly being used towards bettering the environment only to have no proof of it frustrated many. 

This serves as a lesson to many users to be careful of what they post and what organizations they trust. There is no doubt that this event has left many pet and nature-lovers frustrated.