One Whale Is Worth A Thousand Trees

In case you haven’t noticed, there has been a media blitz on climate change. I’ve found a little tidbit in this blizzard of information that shows the unusual connections among life on this planet. This involves the impact of whales on the climate. Or more specifically, whale poop.

According to a study by International Monetary Fund economist Ralph Chami and colleagues, “When it comes to saving the planet, one whale is worth thousands of trees.” Follow the logic — the sea is populated with microscopic algae called phytoplankton. Whale droppings help phytoplankton grow by providing fertilizer. Phytoplankton in turn removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produces oxygen. In fact, “Roughly 50%-55% of the oxygen we breathe — so every other breath you take — you owe to phytoplankton in the ocean,” said Michael Fishbach, head of the environmental group, the Great Whale Conservancy. So protecting the whales is helping to control the output of carbon dioxide.

This also shows how life on Earth is so interconnected that we tamper with it at our peril.

For more information, see “The role of whales in staving off climate change” by Rhoda Metcalfe (

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *