With the planet’s climate predicted to change, there are a lot of ways for us to live differently to stop this change or at least make it bearable for the other organisms that we live with. One way is using whale conservation as a way to obtain carbon credits.
Oceanographer Andrew Pershing wants carbon credits for whale conservation and suggests that if the whale populations made a comeback it they could uptake 9 million tonnes of carbon in their biomass. Put into perspective, 9 million tonnes is comparable to 11,000 square kilometers of forest. Sort of like a tree taking carbon from the atmosphere, but instead the whales take it out of their environment through what they eat. In addition to this, when they die and their bodies sink to the ocean floor, it is so deep that the carbon can take centuries for it to resurface into the air. Of course it doesn’t make a dent in the 7 billion tonnes of carbon made by humans, but it’s a starting place for whale conservationists to jump in on the carbon credits idea.
Pershing’s proposal was met with optimism by other scientists who agree and see it as a way to help conservation efforts for whales. There are other benefits that can come from this idea as well. Whale feces are high in iron and can help algal growth in oceans. This means more algae in the ocean and thus more food for many different organisms. The same idea can also be used for large fish like bluefin tuna and big sharks.
Either way this idea seems to suggest a new way for conservationists to gain incentive for rebuilding populations of large animals that hasn’t been thought of before. It soon may be advantageous for the environment to help protect and care for these large animals due to their role in the carbon cycle. This would help give a more concrete reason to preserve the animals than solely relying on their aesthetic value and their importance in their “separate” environment.
I’m still a little skeptical of the whole “carbon credits” method of controlling our green house gasses. Yet this idea certainly puts it to good use by motivating people to protect whales in the ocean.
Posted by Daniel Solomon (3)