Whales, like all living things, are carbon sinks, and quite large ones. Every great whale sequesters an average of 33 tons of carbon over the span of their lifetime. When a whale dies a natural death, its carbon turns into sediment that nourishes the sea floor. When whales are killed prematurely, by commercial whaling or other means, the ocean loses a significant tool for carbon sequestration in that whale and its possible future offspring.
Phytoplankton are microscopic marine organisms that have been around for over 200 million years, capture around 40% of all carbon dioxide produced globally. As whales migrate across the globe, they leave behind waste dense with iron and nitrogen, which in turn supports a healthy environment for phytoplankton to grow and help regulate our climate.
As global temperatures rise, so do sea levels, threatening coastal communities around the world. Surprisingly, even small organisms like oysters can come to our defense. Oysters are keystone species with ripple effects on the health of their ecosystems and its inhabitants. Just one adult oyster can filter up to fifty gallons of water in a single day, making waterways cleaner. Healthy oyster reefs also provide a home for hundreds of other marine organisms, promoting biodiversity and ecosystem balance. As rising sea levels lead to pervasive flooding, oyster reefs act as walls to buffer storms and protect against further coastal erosion.
Promoting a healthier Earth
Working with partners across the globe, WWF protects threatened wildlife and preserves and restores the wild lands and freshwater they rely upon. Projects that support species like tigers, elephants, and whales are part of many multi-level efforts to combat the climate crisis. ultimately promote a healthier Earth. By conserving and restoring biodiversity in areas suffering from heavy species loss, we can help rehabilitate our planet and meet our climate goals.