Saving the Whales Could Help Save the Planet

Saving the Whales Could Help Save the Planet

Ms. Myers, Editor

When you hear that you could save the entire planet by saving just one species, you might not believe your ears! How is it possible? What makes whales so important? In addition to being a big part of the “circle of life” and offering a large group of ocean animals something to eat, whales can significantly reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

What is Carbon?

This element is also found in our atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2). CarbonĀ helps to regulate the Earth’s temperature, makes all life possible, is a key ingredient in the food that sustains us, and provides a major source of energy to fuel our global economy.

Why is Carbon in the Atmosphere a Problem?

Without carbon dioxide, Earth’s natural greenhouse effect would be too weak to keep the average global surface temperature above freezing. By adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, people are supercharging the natural greenhouse effect, causing global temperatures to rise too quickly.

How can Saving the Whales Help?

Whales eat very small sea creatures. These creatures include plankton and krill. They float in the ocean. The tiny animals use sunlight to turn carbon dioxide and water into food. This takes lots of carbon dioxide out of the air.

Whales eat a lot of plankton and krill. By eating these creatures, they store carbon. Whales can weigh as much as a fire truck. Plus, they can live for more than 100 years. Every year, they collect tons of carbon in their bodies. When a whale dies, it sinks to the bottom of the ocean. All that carbon goes with them. The carbon stays out of the atmosphere for hundreds of years.

How do We Save the Whales?

Saving the whales is a huge undertaking, especially because so many countries fish for them commercially. Really the only way to “save the whales” is to put them on the endangered species list and not allow any country to fish for them privately or commercially for a set number of years.