By Charlotte Stemmer
I feel pretty sorry for whales. They have just spent winter on holiday in warm tropical waters where they sing their magical songs, attract a mate and then give birth to their young. Now they are blissfully swimming down towards the Antarctic on their long journey home, excited about the prospect of a big feed on their favourite food when they arrive. Little do they know Japanese whalers are fast on their trail – watching and waiting for them to reach the cold southern oceans so they can begin their brutal killing spree. But even if they survive the whalers, it may not be time for these magnificent mammals to breathe a sigh of relief just yet…
Yes, it’s the buzz phrase at the moment, but what on earth has it got to do with whales?
Well, we all know the climate is getting hotter and obviously this melts the sea ice around Antarctica. Now here’s the sciency bit – when there is less ice, less algae grows in the ocean, which means there’s nothing for the krill to eat. Krill are little tiny animals, not top of my dinner wish-list but whales find them tastier than a tim-tam. So when there’s less krill this equals less food for the whales and their babies. Hey presto now we’ve got a lot of hungry whales on our hands. Five simple steps to extinction. Worse still, the faster climate changes, the faster we’ll be waving goodbye to our beautiful whales.
But there is a glimmer of hope! The clock is ticking but time has not run out yet. Labor won the election, with climate change a central issue in their campaign. Then last week the UN Climate Change talks in Bali gave us a global roadmap to move forward on climate change negotiations. At the same time a poll in Australia showed 86% of us want our new Prime Minister to decrease Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions within the next three years. Clearly the Australian population wants and expects to see some serious action. FAST. Only then can we stop climate change from becoming the whales’ final harpoon.