COP26 - the UN Climate Change Conference kicked off this week in Glasgow. This global summit brings together countries from around the world to talk about how to stop climate change.
WDC staff are attending COP26 to advocate for protecting whales who are HUGE (pun intended) allies to fighting climate change.
Wondering how whales help the climate? Let your friendly neighborhood whale nerds explain..
How it works:
The ocean’s microscopic plants called phytoplankton live at the surface of the ocean where they spend their days taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. There are so many of them that they take in nearly 1/3 of the carbon dioxide we release in the atmosphere and give us least 50% of the oxygen that we breathe.
We need phytoplankton but phytoplankton need whales. Here comes the slightly gross part..
Whales are the ocean’s gardeners who bring phytoplankton nutrients when they poop at the surface. This is politely referred to as the ‘whale pump’.
Whales can feed in deep water, but pooping under pressure is tough so bathroom breaks happen when whales surface to breathe. Whale poop is rich with important nutrients which phytoplankton need to survive and thrive. Phytoplankton not only remove carbon dioxide and give us oxygen, but they are also the base for the marine food web. Turns out that big things do come in small packages but also that those small packages rely on some big things!
An infographic is worth 1,000 words so check out how the whale pump works:
Take two deep breaths. Thank the trees for the first breath you took and thank phytoplankton and whales for the second breath. At WDC, we are hard at work on the Green Whale project which is dedicated to spreading the word the important role whales play in the health of our planet.
Save the whales, save the world.