Applaud Efforts to Save Whales and Improve Air Quality


Target: Eileen Sheridan, Chair of the Santa Barbara Foundation

Goal: Praise an organization for providing incentive funds to protect blue whales and improve local air quality

Container ships that pass through the Santa Barbara Channel typically run at a speed of 14 to 18 knots, or 16 to 20 miles per hour. Endangered blue whales utilize this channel as a major feeding ground for krill. During the top feeding season, endangered blue whales are at high risk of collision with these 800-foot ships. Now, thanks to a local philanthropic organization, cargo ships passing through the Santa Barbara Channel have a financial incentive to slow down their passage, thereby reducing the chance of blue whale collisions while simultaneously improving air quality.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had previously asked these cargo ships to reduce speeds during the whale feeding season, however, only one percent of the ships agreed to slow down. Thanks to the Santa Barbara Foundation, these ships have financial incentive to comply with this request.

Ships that slow down to 12 knots (13 miles an hour) will receive $2,500 for their participation. Since blue whales can travel anywhere from 25 to 30 miles an hour, this gives the whales a tremendous advantage in being able to escape collisions with the cargo ships. It has also been determined that the slower these ships move, the more fuel efficient they become, causing less air pollution to the local area.

It is inspiring to see an organization, founded and formed by an entire community, vested in the dual environmental interest of animal preservation and air quality. As there are no current regulations in place to guide these ships through these waters during whale feeding season, ship captains would most likely continue their high speeds, as they are financially compensated for each cargo run. Now thanks to the Santa Barbara Foundation, concern for these endangered animals and air quality can be a consideration for the captains without having to suffer financial burden.

By signing the petition below, you will be thanking the Santa Barbara Foundation for its efforts to save endangered blue whales from extinction while also improving the air quality for local residents.


Dear Ms. Sheridan,

I wish to thank you and every member of the Santa Barbara Foundation for providing incentives for cargo ships to slow down during whale feeding season. As you know, this will significantly increase the chances for this endangered species to escape possible collisions with carrier vessels, thereby helping to save these whales from extinction.

The Santa Barbara Foundation’s forward-thinking and proactive stance to protect endangered blue whales is incredibly inspiring and deserves nationwide recognition. Thank you again for your organization’s effort to protect threatened wildlife.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: WPPilot via Wikimedia Commons

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