fimmtudagur, september 28, 2006

kárahnjúkur

As the Icelandic nation celebrates the filling of the massive lagoon at the Kárahnjúkur dam in the east of the coutry today (15000 Man March in Reykjavík the other night notwithstanding) I find myself unable to watch the live coverage. It saddens me tremendously to see such a vast swath of unspoiled nature lost underwater forever. Sure, I understand the need for industry and for aluminum and for economic growth. I'm a free marketeer; that is, I believe that markets are able to solve many problems with a minimum of government intervention. I also accept that in some cases we decide to sacrifice nature for the greater human good.

But what steams me about this project is that it was only realizable and only made economic sense with heavy helpings of Icelandic government largesse; left to its own it would not have been affordable for Alcoa to build a smelter of this size in Iceland. So through a disregard for both free market pricing and the future value of its unspoiled nature, the Icelandic government went ahead on their merry and boneheaded way. There are far better ways to grow the economy of a well-educated wealthy nation than by heavy subsidies of heavy industry.

Hopefully the furore over this dam in at least a segment of Icelandic society will give pause to future selling out of the greatest natural resource Iceland has. I don't think I'm alone when I imagine a future world where being outside in unspoiled nature will likely constitute the ultimate luxury; already today the richest Americans, people like GHWB 41, fly in to Iceland by private jet to fly-fish on virgin streams. And they ain't coming for just the fish, boys.

So if you want to feel some of what I feel today, check out this video of some of the nature that will be lost. (Advance apologies for the maudlin music choice, but the images are spectacular.)

6 Comments:

Blogger Silja Bára said...

I think it´s a great exaggeration to say that the nation is celebrating, precisely for the reasons you mention!

28.9.06  
Blogger JB said...

Well, OK, so many of my coworkers seem rapt by the live coverage, and are using adjectives like magnað. That seems a little too celebratory to me, and I am projecting this level of interest out to the population as a whole.

28.9.06  
Blogger Little Miss Loopy said...

Maybe it's the difference between the two industries we work in but in my parst of the wood people are definetly not celebrating.

This is a sad day indeed.

28.9.06  
Blogger JB said...

I talked to some others here at work and now it seems like really only one guy was thrilled about today. The rest are unhappy.

28.9.06  
Blogger Syngibjörg said...

Í mínum huga er þetta ákaflega sorglegt allt saman.
Langaði að fara í gönguna með Ómari.

28.9.06  
Blogger Jade said...

I visited that are with an Icelandic friend in 2003 and they had already started working on this. It's very beautiful and untouched there.. It's a shame they had to do such a thing when it wasn't that necessary.

28.9.06  

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