Björk and Sigur Rós, two of our most illustrious [read: famous] acts are organizing a mammoth* concert this evening in support of the environment. And not a moment too soon. As the Nicelandic idiom says: oft var þörf en nú er nauðsyn [it was often needed, but now it is necessary], since in the midst of the economic downturn the fearless leaders of this land are once again championing the cause of selling out our beautiful landscapes to evil multinational aluminium giants.
Prior to the last elections, the Social Democratic Alliance promised a halt in plans to add to the number of aluminium plants in this country. As some of you may know, aluminium giants like Alcoa and Alcan hover around Iceland like vultures, on account of the cheap energy to be had here. The last such project to go ahead – a huge aluminium smelter on the East Fjords taken in as a quick fix for the area – required a vast amount of land to be sunk to create a reservoir and dam to feed the plant’s needs for power.
This election promise now seems to have gone the way of the dodo bird, as our current Minister if Industry and Commerce [who rode into office partly on the strength of the above promise] has just extended a declaration of intent for the construction of a brand-new smelter at Bakki, in the north. Can anyone say ‘traitor’?
Aluminium smelters are not the answer: they provide a quick-fix injection into the economy, overheating, and then a massive hangover – just as we are experiencing now. But of course our politicians are not interested in long-term solutions – like politicians everywhere they seem to have built-in short-sightedness that extends only as far as their current election term.
So if you’re in Iceland, head out to the concert in Laugardalur this evening, to show your support for the cause. Unfortunately I’m not going to be in town, otherwise I’d be there waving the flag, but I shall definitely be there in spirit.
* Well, mammoth by Nicelandic standards.
[No weather today as this post is being brought to you through the magic of blogging technology, i.e. pre-dated posts.]