Since returning to Iceland this summer after many years away, I’ve become a little bit obsessed with the extraordinary island nation. If you have ever been there, you will understand where I’m coming from. With the largest unspoiled wilderness area in Europe, Iceland is an environmental treasure. So, it’s depressing to find that the most pristine areas of Iceland are under immediate threat from rapacious developers.
This week,Björk and the Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason held a press conference to announce the launch of a global campaign to pressure the Icelandic government to stop the construction of further hydroelectric dams for the production of electricity. They are especially concerned with plans for a high-voltage cable between Iceland and the UK, which they argue would create increased pressure for further damming up of rivers and the utilization of geothermal areas. You can watch the whole press conference (in English) below.
Björk and Magnason are among founding members of the environmental group Gætum garðsins, which translates as “Protect the Garden”. The group proposes the creation of a National Park in Iceland’s pristine Central highlands, ensuring the area is protected and preserved for future generations. Even though a large majority of Icelanders support the creation of a National Park in the highlands power companies have opposed the idea, while they plan to build new power plants and high voltage transmission lines in the highlands. The Icelandic government has supported some of these plans.
If you care about protecting Europe’s largest wilderness area, you can help by signing a petition at the Heart of Iceland website protesting the development. You can also contact the Icelandic embassy in your home country to raise concerns about these misguided projects. Local embassies can be found through www.iceland.is/iceland-abroad/ .