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3/15/2012 10:29:00 AM
Frozen continent clearly shows warmth of God's creation
Photo by Nick Russ
A penguin feeds its chick on the Antarctic coast.  
Photo by Nick Russ
A penguin feeds its chick on the Antarctic coast.
Nick Russ
Nick Russ
Nick Russ

Antarctica is a good example of what God had in mind when the Earth was made. Though it has changed over the years, it's still a place that shows God’s beauty.

In January, as part of a study abroad program from Pacific Lutheran University, I traveled to Antarctica. I have traveled to Europe and Asia, but Antarctica is the best example of God’s glory I've witnessed.

Wandering albatrosses, the bird with the largest wingspan in the world, glided around our boat while we headed to Antarctica. We had the chance to see minke whales, swimming alongside our inflatable boats, close enough that we could touch them. Only later, when I thought about their curiosity, did it cross my mind how these gentle creatures are being hunted so unnecessarily. My overall experience inspired me to do whatever I can to preserve Antarctica, so that future generations have a chance experience such a life changing place.

Antarctica impacts us as much as we impact it. God gave humans dominion over the Earth, but does that mean we should be using the planet as a mere resource or should we be protecting what God gave us? The answer is not straight forward. I think it's a mixture of both use and protection. In the past, whalers decimated the whale population for profit. Now we harm Antarctica in ways we may not even fully know. We do know that the larger the carbon footprint we make, the bigger the ozone gap. But here's something most aren't aware of: eating Chilean Sea Bass directly relates to the death of albatrosses, who get snagged in fishing lines.
I think that God would want us to be looking after the creatures of this amazing world he shaped for us. Seeing his beauty through nature has guided me to a different view of the world. I feel I've been called to something bigger than I could have ever imagined — that I have been called to help others see his beauty through nature both close to home and far away.  

The writer, a junior in accounting at Pacific Lutheran University, is a graduate of All Saints School and Central Catholic High in Portland.

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