The Weight of Whales



Slide IMAGE FROM THE 19TH CENTURY WHALING LOGS OF THE ALEXANDER BARCLAY AND THE CHARLES W. MORGAN SHIPS, COURTESY OF THE M.V. MUSEUM. Slide Source: The Washington Post 8.7 megatons Amount of carbon sequestered by protecting just eight whale species Slide Source: The Washington Post 6,000 Number of wind turbines that would need to operate for one year to reduce carbon Slide Source: Our Planet 33,000 kg
Amount of CO2 absorbed by the average great whale over its 60-year life
Slide Source: Our Planet 1,320 kg Average amount of CO2 sequestered by one tree over 60 years Slide Source: BBC ~40% Amount of the world’s CO2 absorbed by phytoplankton, which find ideal growing conditions in the iron and nitrogen of whales’ waste Slide Source: BBC 4 Number of Amazon rainforests required to absorb 40% of the world’s CO2 Slide Source: BBC 200 Number of species a single whale carcass supports with food and habitat during final stages of decay Slide Source: Skip Finley, The Vineyard Gazette 1738 Year the earliest recorded whaling ship left Martha’s Vineyard Slide Source: Skip Finley, The Vineyard Gazette $134.6 million Value of whale products brought back by Vineyard-based ships from 1818 to 1872 Slide Source: International Monetary Fund $2 million Value of carbon sequestered by a single great whale according to International Monetary Fund Slide Source: World Wildlife Fund 366 Number of existing North American right whales Slide Source: World Wildlife Fund 18 Number of mother-calf pairs of right whales in 2021 Slide Source: World Wildlife Fund 23 Average number of mother-calf pairs annually from 2010 to 2020 Slide Source: World Wildlife Fund 6 Number of species out of the 13 Great whale species considered vulnerable or endangered Slide Source: International Atomic Energy Agency 50 Multiple increase of CO2 the ocean helps regulate compared to the atmosphere

Correction: An earlier version of this story cited the Atlantic Black Box Project as the source for information about diversity among whaling captains. That citation should have included that the information was first published by Skip Finley in the Vineyard Gazette.

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Bluedot Living Magazine is the only sustainable living magazine on Martha's Vineyard. It is published quarterly by Bluedot, Inc., and distributed by The Martha's Vineyard Times.

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