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The Oceans Declare the Glory of God

The Oceans Declare the Glory of God

How NASA oceanographer Jorge Vazquez is protecting the seas through climate-change research.

Right now my particular research is on trying to understand the impact of climate change on coastal areas. For example, I'm working with Peruvian scientists to apply the satellite information to better understand how El Nino and La Nina are going to impact the coastal areas of Peru.

Why is this sort of research important?

These issues have huge economic impacts on countries. They have huge biological impacts. In Peru, the biological issues tie in closely with the economic, because their economy is heavily based on fisheries. So anything that changes the fishery industry of Peru is huge and can have devastating effects.

Are you learning things about the effects of climate change on the coastal areas of Peru that are also relevant to California coastal waters?

Absolutely, because California has a similar ecosystem. In California, the dynamics of the ocean are similar, the fisheries are similar, and the coast also gets affected by El Nino and La Nina.

'So far this is the one unique planet we know of that has everything necessary for life. So we need to treat it as a gift.' ~ Jorqe Vazquez, NASA

As a Christian how do you think your work as an oceanographer participates in God's own work in the world?

It's stewardship. I confess, within the evangelical community I get frustrated because sometimes when you talk about environmental issues, the response is, "So what? God can put everything back together anyway." That's exactly the wrong attitude to have, and it doesn't fit with our call to stewardship. Just like a child is a gift from God, a friend is a gift from God, a spouse is a gift from God—I think this planet is also a gift from God. So far this is the one unique planet we know of that has everything necessary for life. So we need to treat it as a gift. I think God calls us to that very explicitly even in the first chapters of Genesis. All the evidence is pointing to the fact that we as humans being are having an effect on the environment, and a negative one. It's very clear we should be concerned about this, and that drives what I do.

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