Antarctica: Nature’s Cathedral

Antarctica was one the most beautiful, pristine, sacred environments I’ve ever experienced. I fell in love with the wildlife but also with the ice.

Antarctica has been covered in ice for 30 million years since it drifted away from the super-continent Pangea. Since 2009, Antarctica has lost almost 278 billion tons of ice per year. In the 1980s, it was losing 44 billion tons a year. That is a 6-fold or 280% increase. Ice is disappearing faster each decade.*

What we do in the next ten years will determine the next thousand. No generation before us has ever been faced with a challenge on a such planetary scale. … This is much bigger than ensuring polar bears and walrus have a place on our planet, this is about creating the world we ourselves want to live in.” Sir David Attenborough, Our Planet:

Antarctica holds the majority of earth’s ice. The ice covering the continent is almost three miles thick and covers 98% of the land. Sea ice forms each year in the surrounding oceans in the colder, darker seasons.

Sea ice forms a barrier between the surrounding oceans and the ice on the land. Rising carbon dioxide levels warms the ocean and could reduce the sea ice causing a loss of the barrier and endangering the Antarctic ice sheet. If the average earth temperature rises more than 2 degrees Celsius, conditions would be similar to conditions 14 million years ago. Sea ice this January was at its lowest level since 1979 when measurements began.

If the Antarctic ice melted it would cause the average sea level to rise about 200 feet. The Antarctic ice sheets influence weather and climate as well as supporting the immense wildlife found in its seas and land.

I know traveling exposes me to cultures, environments, and wildlife in a way that makes me deeply care about their future.  Along with treasuring the creations of man, I treasure the creations of nature.  Can we save this breath taking environment on which all humanity and life depend in time?

The images below represent icebergs, sea ice, and land ice around the Antarctic Peninsula.

*taken from, Proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences USA, Eric Rignot, Jérémie Mouginot, Bernd Scheuchl, Michiel van den Broeke, Melchior J. van Wessem, and Mathieu Morlighem

This entry was posted in Antarctica, Travel.


  1. Robert Berliner April 21, 2019 at 11:04 pm #

    Wow! Fantastic shots of this which give one hints of the enviromental issues we must contend with. Thanks for sharing and all best wishes,

    • Ivy Gordon April 21, 2019 at 11:16 pm #

      Thanks Bob! Hope all is well with you too!

  2. Karin Leperi April 21, 2019 at 11:44 pm #

    OMG Ivy. This is absolutely amazing and I wish you had asked me to come along. (Looks like I may go there in 2020). You do such beautiful work.

    • Ivy Gordon April 22, 2019 at 12:18 am #

      Thanks you Karin! You should absolutely go! And don’t skip South Georgia – not to be missed!

  3. Karen King April 21, 2019 at 11:44 pm #

    Beautiful photos, Ivy. And even more poignant is keeping in front of us all that what we do in the next 10 years will determine the next thousand years.

    • Ivy Gordon April 22, 2019 at 12:20 am #

      Thank you Karen! If we put our minds and will to this we can make progress. It’s so crucially important!

  4. Lew Lively April 22, 2019 at 12:54 am #

    The greatest existential threat our species has ever been subjected to – and of our own doing. Thanks for documenting the beauty of what still is. I fear my great grandkids will never see it.

  5. Sandra Long April 22, 2019 at 4:22 am #

    I totally agree with you about our challenge with our environment which David Attenborough has well conveyed especially recently. Your images bring back memories of my experience in the same region in 2007 as well as are beautifully composed. Thank you!

  6. MALINDA MAYNOR LOWERY April 22, 2019 at 11:12 am #

    Stunning photographs Ivy, and thank you for bringing our focus on what must change!

  7. Brett Pyle April 22, 2019 at 1:32 pm #

    As usual Ivy, your art stuns! You captured the majesty of this unique part of creation. Last summer, I took my family the opposite direction – we went to the Arctic! We went up to The Svalbard islands. Up to 79 degrees north latitude and were within 750 miles of the North Pole. Amazing. Never breathed in such fresh, crisp air before. Your pictures took me right back! More than that, it inspired me to go South next time and see that 7th continent. Thanks for continuing to share your gift with the world!

  8. Elisa Spain April 22, 2019 at 3:30 pm #

    Wow! These photos are spectacular! Thank you for both sharing the beauty and for educating us on how important Antartica is to the survival of the human race.

  9. Randy Bartsch April 22, 2019 at 4:19 pm #

    Thank you for taking us on a fascinating journey. Your amazing imagery brings Antarctica to life.

  10. john cotter April 22, 2019 at 5:41 pm #

    You have a rare talent Ivy and, as usual, these are beautiful photographs. Thank you for doing what you do so well. And thank you for sharing.

  11. Nancy Hopwood April 23, 2019 at 12:33 am #

    Ivy, your photographs are stunning. I wish everyone could personally experience the beauty of this continent. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Belinda April 24, 2019 at 6:01 pm #

    Wonderful photos Ivy, as always. Thank you for capturing this magnificent place with your talented eye and for reminding us all what’s at stake.

  13. Kathy Hornsby April 25, 2019 at 1:46 am #

    Wonderful images, Ivy!

  14. Lauren Tanny April 30, 2019 at 2:43 am #

    These are absolutely gorgeous, Ivy! And thanks for your call to action on climate change.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *