This small island is famous for its women… 3 miss World winners. It is famous for its men… 3 world’s strongest men. No guesses to work out which of these keeps me here? Hands down it is the beauty, I could seriously do without macho bullshit, strong arms and straining faces.
But this post is about 2 other forms of beauty and power; the Icelandic wilderness and the renewable power sources.
Although I am not a lawyer, politician or doctor (thank God), I do qualify as a citizen of Europe and hopefully my opinion counts. My writing represents my beliefs on some Icelandic political issues, my opinions may not be correct, but…
“You get zero points for not trying!!”
Iceland has 3 big industries; fishing, tourism and electricity. Roll back in time to the cod wars to realise that Iceland is not just fishing for its own, but competes on the international market. Fair enough, that is what the global fishing market is for. Tourism has increased significantly following 3 events, the economic crash, the Eyjafjallajökull eruption and the great work of several Icelandic photographers who have put Iceland on the #one bucket list for Landscape photographers? The crash made Iceland affordable, the volcano put Iceland on the map and the photographers brought thousands of Northern Lights hunters over here – which has increased our Winter tourism.
Did you know that Iceland is #1 on the Landsape photographer’s bucket list – as published at Photodoto.com
I have very little concerns about tourism. Sometimes we struggle to find hotels in the Summer, but there is plenty of room to camp. There are some provinces who are erecting fences at popular destinations. This can be annoying, but if it protects the nature, we can’t really complain. Some landowners such as at Kerið, are now charging admission – although illegally because they were not supplying toilets. I feel sure that the owners of Geysir will soon start charging admission fees, until the profits at the shop start to suffer.
Iceland recognises that ‘tourism’ is a key part of the Iceland economy, but I seriously doubt they they understand why the tourists are here. They are certainly not here to buy stuffed puffins, well some might be. Tourists come to see a landscape so new and untouched by industry. There is some interest in Icelandic way of life, but most people want to touch a glacier, stand behind a waterfall and take night photographs with zero light pollution. Most tourists (including the Icelandic government) don’t even care that Landscapes are being flooded and nearby rivers are becoming polluted and reindeer are losing their grazing plains – to create Aluminium. The Icelanders are very proud of their renewable energy geothermal power stations. It would be fair enough if all that ugliness was just providing power for the people of Iceland. Unfortunately, most of what we see contributes to the smelting of Aluminium.
In 20 years, tourism will fail here because waterfalls will no longer be attractive, landscapes will no longer be free of power lines. Tourists will have to pay to see natural phenomena, they just wont bother coming here. People just don’t enjoy paying $10 for a beer and $40 for a small portion of Whale meat. It’s not that appealing anymore is it? If Iceland used that power to invest in a whole nation driving hydrogen cars. Instead the government have just approved the building of a new power damn.
Update: It has been announced that the landowners at Geysir, will be charging admission next year. Visitors will now have to pay to see the Geysir – a Natural phenomenon. The Icelandic tourist board doesn’t like this, but is powerless because the land does not belong to Iceland. It no longer belongs to the Icelandic people.
Iceland became independent in 1944, since then half of the country has been sold to foreign investors. Such a shame that Iceland couldn’t remain independent. sjálfstæði íslands 1944 – er ekki til.