View our pitch

Make a whale of a gift to the climate

Clim8 Team

12 April 2022 Inside Clim8Sustainability

ORCA is one of the UK’s leading whale and dolphin conservation charities. Here’s why their work is crucial to fighting climate change – and why your referral donation makes a difference.

What’s ORCA?

Since 2001, ORCA has been working to monitor vulnerable whale and dolphin populations and protect threatened marine habitats. Working with governments, research institutions and other conservation charities, ORCA aims to create safer places for whales, dolphins and porpoises, ultimately promoting the health and well-being of the wider marine ecosystem.


We believe that whales are one of the great unsung stories in the climate debate. The potential impact of restoring their global population is truly epic – equivalent to planting 2 billion trees1. In our quest for new ways of acting on climate, it’s exactly the kind of below-radar stat that gets our pulses racing.

But we also exist to put more power (and impact) into your hands. Which is why we asked our community to choose the one climate charity they felt would have the most impact out of six options, and ORCA won hands down. Hive mind, we salute you.

Nature’s largest carbon-capturing machines

Whales are considered to be ‘ecosystem engineers’ and have a positive impact on ocean habitats all around the world. By moving nutrients around the ocean, they play a crucial role in feeding phytoplankton, the tiny plant-like organisms which are the foundation of the entire ocean ecosystem. This phytoplankton is a vital part of combating climate change, removing carbon from the atmosphere and providing 50% of the planet’s oxygen.

ORCA to the rescue

Worryingly, these animals face a wider array of threats today than at any other point in history. As well as climate change related threats such as ocean acidification, sea-level rise, loss of icy habitats and the decline of food sources, whales and dolphins also face threats such as entanglement in fishing gear, commercial whaling and ship strike.

This is where ORCA comes in. Many whale, dolphin and porpoise species are considered data deficient. Through vital monitoring work, ORCA helps to identify and establish marine protected areas for whales and dolphins on a local and national scale. This helps UK and EU Member States assess ocean health, and identify new critical ocean hotspots.

ORCA’s work is vital in identifying critical habitats for whales, dolphins and porpoises in the world’s oceans. The positive impact these animals have on the health of our planet highlights how important it is for us to protect them and so by understanding them better, we can make sure they can help us combat climate change for generations to come.

1Minouche Shafik – What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract