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Recycle! Ride a bike!

Today is blog action day for the environment and while I want to take part, I have no idea what to write about. What I’m doing for the environment? How terrible the Icelanders are at recycling? How impressed I am with our new Minister for the Environment? The hypocrisy of rejoicing at the great weather we’re having every summer while simultaneously bemoaning the fact that our glaciers are melting?


What I’m doing for the environment
I recycle newspapers, bottles, glass, paper, milk/juice containers. I take batteries, scrap metal, old shoes, diskettes and CDs, and various other items to the recycling depot. I recently got new tires for my car that don’t have studs in them and therefore don’t contribute to fine particle pollution. I walk or ride my bike wherever I need to, unless I absolutely have to take the car. I don’t buy aeresol spray cans. Um … probably some other stuff I’m forgetting now. — Your turn!

The Icelanders are terrible at recycling
Many many Icelanders – I won’t say most, although I’m tempted – throw everything into the household trash. Take our upstairs neighbours, for instance. Bottles, newspapers, shoes, lumber, electronic gadgets, you name it, they’ll dump it. Meanwhile, when called on it they moan about how inconvenient it is to take the newspapers all the way to the recycling container located behind the supermarket that is two minutes away by car. Or the bottles all the way to the depot, which is five minutes away by car. They’re lovely people – but sometimes I just shake my head.

Apropos that, I have to say that Nicelanders in general are relatively oblivious to the concept of ecology. I suppose having such an abundance of land – and clean land, at that – they don’t really get it. They drive mammoth cars and trucks, the concept of eco-driving is absolutely foreign to them [e.g. they will sit in their cars for ages – hours – while keeping the engine running when they could so easily turn it off], they never think about limiting the use of water [EPI for instance routinely leaves the kitchen tap running for long periods while he goes about tidying up in the kitchen], they’re completely challenged when it comes to recycling, etc. etc.

Meanwhile, our new Minister for the Environment is ace
I was delighted when she took office last spring because I’d met her a couple of times through mutual friends, and knew she had the potential to do good. And now that she’s been in office for a few months I have to say I’m completely impressed. She’s been quite outspoken against further destruction of our environment in order to provide evil multinationals with power to feed their heavy industry [read: aluminium plants] and just last week was quoted in one of the papers as saying we should absolutely not be asking for special provisions to the Kyoto protocol, for which many of our politicians have been lobbying – i.e. provisions that would allow us to release greenhouse gases over and above our allocated quota. [So that evil multinationals could build more aluminium smelters.] No – instead we should be pouring our resources into developing our know-how in the field of green energy as well as exporting that know-how, and looking for ways to curb the vast amount of pollution released by our fishing fleet. Finally a politician concerned with more than just short-term interests. Yowsa!

And yes – I love the fact that we have gorgeous weather in summer
… yet all the while our amazing glaciers are melting. It’s sad and tragic and I don’t know what to do about it.

I hate to sound negative, but there it is. It’s been a cold and miserable day, with gales from the north, making for killer windchill. The sort of day when you can’t even open windows comfortably because the wind is so strong and you don’t go outside unless you absolutely have to. Right now we have 1°C [34F] but it feels like -6°C [21F]. The sun came up at 8:16 am and set at 6:09 pm. In other words, the day is becoming uncomfortably short, and it feels even more uncomfortable when the weather is so awful. Here comes SAD!