The largest whale, and that happens to be my favorite (guess why… ) is the Blue Whale. This whale can grow up to 25 to 27 meters long.
The average body weight of a blue whale is 100 to 120 tons. To get an idea of its size, the fin whale can get almost as heavy as a Boeing 747, its tongue weighs about 2 tons and is the size of an elephant. The heart of the walis can weigh up to 900 kilograms and is comparable in size to a small car. Read more about the blue whale …
Because whales are such large creatures, they absorb an awful lot of CO2. A large whale quickly absorbs about 33 tons of CO2 into its life, when it dies it sinks to the bottom of the sea where the CO2 is safely stored and where it can no longer escape.
Just for comparison, a tree only absorbs 20 kg of CO2 per year!
And there is even more…
Plankton and Whale Poop
Populations of some of the smallest phytoplankton are also found wherever whales, the largest living things on Earth, live. These tiny creatures provide 50% of all oxygen in our atmosphere while also capturing an additional 37 billion tons of CO2.
If phytoplankton were to increase by 1 percent, it would capture at least hundreds of millions of tons of extra CO2 per year, which corresponds to the sudden appearance of 2 billion mature trees.
In recent years, scientists have discovered that whales can increase phytoplankton production.
Nitrogen and phosphorus are scarce in the ocean. It turns out that whale waste products contain exactly the substances that phytoplankton need to grow. Whales bring minerals to the ocean surface through their vertical movement and migration across oceans.
Let whales live
We are now at a whale population of about 1.3 million. That seems like a lot, but it used to be 4 to 5 million.
A 1 percent increase in phytoplankton productivity due to whale activity (yes… I mean whale poo!) Would capture at least hundreds of millions of tons of extra CO2 per year. Which is roughly equivalent to 2 billion mature trees appearing suddenly. And that times 60, the average age of a whale.
In addition to commercial whaling, whales are also threatened by ship attacks, entanglement in fishing nets, plastic waste in the water and noise pollution. Some species recover slowly, but not all.
We can come up with high-tech solutions, but we can also make use of this earth technology, nature that has had millions of years to perfect the storage of CO2. All we have to do is not get in the way of the whales and let them live.
Whales are not only a solution to our problem, they are part of our system. They have an important place in a sustainable ocean and planet. A healthy whale population ensures a healthy and sustainable sea that benefits both the sea itself, the earth and people.
View the paintings I have made below, inspired by these magically beautiful creatures.