What if the Whales Could Save Us? | Rethink Sustainability

Can whales help cool the temperature of our planet? A whale’s body can store up to 33 tonnes of harmful carbon dioxide. When they die and sink to the ocean floor, all that carbon is stored there for centuries. The International Monetary Fund has calculated that each whale is worth more than two million dollars and are “irreplaceable in mitigating and building resilience to climate change”.

Climate change a reality that we are still striving to combat recent research shows that whales are quietly helping to cool the temperature of our planet throughout the 1970s and 80s activists fought to save the whales the movement to save these creatures arose because the practice of whaling had decimated their global population all that remained was to get

The prize scientists estimate the population had declined between 66 and 90 percent these early eco warriors had no idea how valuable their campaign would be for the planet this value is only just beginning to come to light this blue whale is one of the largest creatures on earth and its enormous body stores harmful carbon dioxide how much around 33 tons

As a comparison a single tree only absorbs around 21 kilos of co2 a year when a whale dies and sinks to the bottom of the ocean all that carbon goes with them there it is stored in the deep sea for centuries what if we could bring whale populations back to previous numbers how much carbon could we take out of our atmosphere well scientists have worked that out

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Pre-1900 it’s thought that whaling added up to 1.9 million tons of carbon back into the atmosphere and since 1900 a further 70 million tonnes that’s the equivalent of taking 15 million cars off the road for one year whale waste also has a massive impact on our climate their nutrient-rich poo is essentially a phytoplankton farm these microscopic creatures thrive

On it why should we care because phytoplankton already capture 40 of all carbon produced on our planet the equivalent of 1.7 trillion trees what if the whale populations were restored how much more carbon would additional phytoplankton populations be able to sequester this strategy doesn’t take up land or require testing or fundraising it is simply protection

And restoration of a lost ecosystem effective simple natural in 2019 the international monetary fund released a report calculating that each whale in the ocean is worth more than two million dollars they concluded that whales are irreplaceable in mitigating and building resilience to climate change calling for their survival to be integrated into the objectives

Of the paris agreement for combating climate risk the lesson here is crystal clear saving the whales was never just about saving the whales it’s about preserving our ecosystem all of human activity depends on the services nature provides the more successful we are at preserving it the better chance we have at our own survival you

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What if the Whales Could Save Us? | Rethink Sustainability By Financial Times

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