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Top 10 Animals Helping Us Combat Climate Change

Updated: Jun 25, 2023

1. Bees

Almost 90% of plant species rely on pollinators to reproduce, with bees being the most important of them all. These buzzing insects are vital to plant growth, as they can transfer pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma (this lets the fertile flower yield fruit and seeds). Without essential pollinators like bees, the continuation of plant growth would decline, and biodiversity would suffer. We rely on them to produce our food supply, provide for wildlife, and ultimately aid in absorbing CO2 through spreading pollen that allows for plant reproduction.

2. Beavers

Beavers help immensely to combat the effects of climate change by building dams. In the midst of droughts or floods, their dams are able to hold back water that would either dry up or end up as runoff if it flowed through. Dams act similarly to filters by preventing contaminants and excess nutrients from entering water upstream. The presence of beavers also affects water temperatures by increasing vegetation growth around dams. This increased vegetation is able to store more carbon, which helps to mitigate the increased levels of carbon in the atmosphere.

3. Birds

Birds play a variety of roles in many different ecosystems. As predators, they contribute to pest control, but they also help to maintain ecosystems by transporting seeds. This occurs when they consume seeds and then release them in droppings during their travels. Seed transport is crucial for lush forests and ecosystems. For example, in New Zealand’s forests, 70 percent of plants have seeds dispersed by birds. In an age of human-driven environmental degradation and deforestation, the role of birds is even more crucial, ensuring that forests can keep absorbing carbon dioxide.

4. Dogs

Dogs can help combat climate change in multiple ways. One way is by assisting with conservation efforts such as sniffing out endangered species or detecting invasive species. Additionally, service dogs can help reduce carbon emissions by assisting individuals with mobility needs, allowing them to use alternative forms of transportation such as walking or biking instead of driving. Finally, therapy dogs can help reduce stress and improve one's overall well-being, which can lead to more sustainable lifestyle choices.

5. Elephants

Elephants play a crucial role in protecting their environment and fighting climate change. They help maintain and create open areas in their habitats, promoting carbon storage, regenerating depleted soils, and creating waterholes for other animals. Additionally, their presence helps keep the ecosystem balanced and prevent further effects of climate change. By nurturing their habitats, we can combat climate change and preserve vital ecosystems.

6. Octopi

Octopi are vital for identifying climate change because they respond rapidly and dramatically to changes in their environment and play an important predatory role in their ecosystem. Highly intelligent, some scientists consider octopi to be the only invertebrate animals to be able to perceive feelings. Due to their sensitivity to climate change, an octopus population decrease would offset the marine ecosystem. With an increase of CO2 in the ocean, the acidity of the water would go up. Research shows that octopi are incredibly responsive and adaptable. Octopi allows scientists to better understand climate change and see differences in the marine biome right away.

7. Sea otters

Sea otters are crucial for maintaining nearshore ecosystems, such as estuaries and kelp forests. As top predators, they hunt overpopulating sea urchins that overgraze on kelp, which provides food for many marine animals. The shrinkage of kelp forests can help to exacerbate climate change, since they absorb carbon, a greenhouse gas. Coastal ecosystems rich with marine plants need to be maintained, since they sequester 20 times more carbon per acre than forested environments on land.

8. Squirrels

Squirrels are a keystone species that play a vital role in maintaining biodiversity and ecological stability. They combat climate change by spreading seeds, controlling insect populations and promoting the growth of new trees and plants. Their actions help to increase carbon dioxide absorption and maintain the balance of healthy ecosystems. Despite their small size, squirrels have a significant impact on the environment and climate.

9. Whales

Whales are vital to combating climate change by circulating nutrients and storing carbon. Through their migrations and deep sea-hunting, whales transport nutrients from the deep waters to the nutrient-poor surface through fecal plumes and urine. This creates ideal conditions for phytoplankton, which capture an estimated 40% of all CO2 produced! Additionally, whales accumulate massive amounts of carbon throughout their lives. When they die, they sink to the bottom of the ocean, taking an average of 33 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere for centuries.

10. Worms

Soil provides us with multiple benefits by fostering plant and food growth, purifying water, and fostering ecological cycles like the nitrogen and carbon cycles. Worms enhance these effects significantly! They increase nutrients in the soil, helping plants to thrive. These plants are able to remove harmful emissions like CO2 and produce oxygen, helping to purify the atmosphere. Worms also burrow in the soil, creating air pockets that allow water to drain and decrease erosion by up to 50%. This is extremely important because it prevents floods along with droughts, reducing the negative effects of climate change.



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