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How Whales Combat Climate Change

The impact of these gentle giants for the environment

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Whales have always been highly valued throughout history. Initially, they were hunted almost to extinction but after conservation efforts and an increase in numbers, whales were treated as a boon to a country’s economy via ecotourism. However, recent reports have found that whales play an invaluable role in the environment.

 

In the course of its life, a whale takes tons of carbon from the atmosphere and stores it in its massive body. When it dies, all that carbon sinks to the bottom of the sea for possibly thousands of years. Even when a whale is alive, it still contributes. Whale’s faeces also act as a fertiliser for billions of phytoplankton, plant-like organisms that further remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When those organisms die, they too sink and remove the carbon to the bottom of the sea. Research has been done showing that a whale removes roughly 33 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere when it dies.

 

Considering that number and applying it to the value of carbon dioxide in the marketplace, then adding the value provided by other factors such as ecotourism, researchers found that a whale could be valued at $2 million over its lifetime. This means that the global population of whales could potentially be worth over a trillion dollars. In conclusion, whales provide a massive benefit to humanity and should be conserved to preserve them for future generations.

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