Today's Tidbit: Sea Otters Help Us Fight Global Warming

Sea Otters Help Us Fight Global Warming

Sea otters are the largest members of the weasel family.

When people started hunting sea otters for their fur, their population fell from roughly 225,000 to about 1,500, until the International Fur Seal Treaty took effect in 1911. Since the international ban on otter hunting, the population has rebounded back to roughly 107,000.

Why does this matter?

Because sea otters eat sea urchins, and sea urchins eat sea kelp, and sea kelp eats carbon dioxide, and carbon dioxide causes global warming. That means that the more sea otters there are, the more kelp there will be to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.

Although hard to believe, Chistopher Wilmers, among others, estimate that because of existing sea otters, roughly 6.5 million more metric tonnes of carbon is stored in sea kelp than would be otherwise. With carbon futures currently trading at around $15 per metric tonne, this is worth roughly $100 million.

That's $1,000 per otter.

So, the next time you're shopping for an otter coat, remember that if we kill off all the otters for their fur, and the world heats up, you won't have any use for the coat.


Want to master Microsoft Excel and take your work-from-home job prospects to the next level? Jump-start your career with our Premium A-to-Z Microsoft Excel Training Bundle from the new Gadget Hacks Shop and get lifetime access to more than 40 hours of Basic to Advanced instruction on functions, formula, tools, and more.

Buy Now (97% off) >

Other worthwhile deals to check out:

Photo by Agunther

Join the Next Reality AR Community

Get the latest in AR — delivered straight to your inbox.

Be the First to Comment

Share Your Thoughts

  • Hot
  • Latest