Gina Florio
April 12, 2017 12:19 pm
Andrey Nekrasov / Barcroft Images

When you think about the most effective fighters against climate change, you probably don’t think of whales right off the bat. You might conjure up an image of vegan scientists, a non-profit that puts forth clean air initiatives, or Leonardo DiCaprio. But science has shown that whales in the Pacific Islands play a crucial role in the attempt to slow down climate change.

Little did you know whales absorb a lot of the carbon in oceans, so the less whales there are, the more greenhouse gas emissions experts predict will plague our environment. Angela Martin, project lead with Blue Climate Solutions and co-author of a report on the topic for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, spoke to the Scientific American about why whales are so important.

When whales dive down in the ocean, they push nutrients from the bottom to the surface. Then they eat all the carbon-packed phytoplankton and marine flora, reducing the amount of carbon floating around in the water. Also, let’s not forget about whales’ poop. Yep, their poop even does work for our planet.

Whale feces brings nutrients to the marine plants in the area, and the more plants there are, the more carbon will be absorbed naturally. Experts say this encourages the carbon capture process.

Scientists are worried that the whale population will start dwindling, though, particularly when you think about how warm the waters are getting. Additionally, it’s a concern that, as we run out of natural resources, humans will start overfishing even more and disrupt the whales’ home, either killing them or driving them out.

There is work and research being done, though, to make sure that whales can live in a safe and beneficial environment. Because we need them to slow down climate change as much as possible.

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