Updated: Apr 3, 2021
Dream weather with 25°C and full sun in Hyde Park could not make this a better day! Highly motivated and full of passion to contribute something to healthier oceans (and ourselves!) I jump into a 17°C cold water with other swimmers and join a chilly choir: "Aah, ooh, huh, brr...". After a few seconds though the wetsuit does its job and keeps me comfortable. The rest is just a "swim in the park"! With hundreds of swimmers around me, I feel the strong will about changing the world and I am proud to take part and fundraise. Today I swim for the oceans!
Why? Because we need oceans. Our lives and resources depend on the oceans. Our survival is ensured by the oceans. Our beginning is the ocean.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) is the leading charity with a strong dedication to protect whales and dolphins worldwide. Their Vision is to End captivity, Stop whaling, Create healthy oceans and Prevent deaths in nets. They work through campaigns, lobbying, advising governments, conservation projects, field research, rescue, education, and much more.
Large-bodied marine animals, like Whales, play an important role in the marine ecosystem. They are strongly linked to the process of providing up to 50% of the oxygen that we breathe, they help with climate change and sustain fish populations.
Throughout our history, we wiped out up to 90% of some whale populations and caused severe damage to the marine ecosystem.
Still, the fact that recovering and healthy whale populations can contribute to the health of the oceans has not reached enough people yet, especially governments. That is the mystery of the whale poo. Whales produce fecal plums which contain important nutrients for the phytoplankton and let it flourish. These small marine plants use photosynthesis and capture carbon from the atmosphere. Secondly, whales transport the nutrients in the ocean from the bottom to the surface when diving and swimming and mix nutrients through different levels in the water that feed phytoplankton and other marine flora which then feed other small animals, also fish. Thirdly, whale carcasses sink to the bottom and become an important mini-ecosystem for all kinds of marine life and at the same time take an enormous amount of carbon to the seabed. It is estimated that now whales store approximately nine million tonnes less carbon than before whaling.
WDC has worked toward some important achievements:
- The Ross Sea is now the world’s largest marine protected area in Antarctica, covering 1.55 million square kilometers.
- There is a first marine protected area in the seas off Bangladesh.
- There is now a law that limits the speed of ships along the east coast of the United States which reduces the threat of harmful or lethal collisions with North Atlantic right whales by 90%.
- They work closely with experts to identify whale and dolphin habitats in need of protection in the Mediterranean, Pacific Islands and the North East Indian Ocean, and Southeast Asian seas and create IMMA's (Important Marine Mammals Areas).
We use the oceans for oil, gas, fish, transport but also a waste bin. We put in plastics, chemicals, fertilizers, and pollute the vital ecosystem that sustains life on the whole planet. We poison ourselves.
However, with better laws, we can improve the health of the seas and the life of everyone in it. We can save ourselves. Thank you, for considering our oceans!