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Björk and Sigur Rós play for the cause

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.

[I also blogged about this issue here and here and here.]

[No weather today as this post is being brought to you through the magic of blogging technology, i.e. pre-dated posts.]



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Bluegrass Mama June 28, 2008, 3:35 pm

    So true about the short-sightedness of politicians everywhere. However, it’s a trait seen in many voters as well!

  • Dankoozy June 28, 2008, 5:08 pm

    The dollar isn’t worth a crap anymore. Why would you leave one failing currency for another? but switching to sterling would be a good idea. Also lay a few cables to supply england with geothermal electricity. They will pay good money for it too since their own grid was having trouble there a few weeks back and they already import shitloads of power from France

  • digdug727 June 28, 2008, 11:19 pm

    thanks to the miracle of technology, i got to see the concert live on my computer! the National Geographic Music website hosted the event and it was almost as good as being there! unfortunately, it just made me feel the longing to be back in iceland all that much stronger. i love your country and the people i have met there. this benefit is a strong reflection of the national character of icelanders (in general). protect your national identity. save your natural heritage. do not forget your language or history. don’t switch from the kronur. all this and more makes you unique in this world. the world needs iceland and icelanders.
    takk fyrir
    austin, texas

  • sigga June 29, 2008, 1:15 am

    It may be just my imagination, but, all Icelanders I have ever spoken to have all been overly proud of the fact that the Icelandic nature is unspoilt, beautiful, clean etc etc. And yet when one starts to talk about protecting that very same nature they start to fall back into some sort of political, héraðspólitik short sighted view of the current economic crisis.. What is it with them/us that we can´t look towards the future – there seems to always be the need for a short term solution. It makes me (I was going to say cry)pissed off… I feel privileged living here and I know that there are other ways for this nation to get out from under current economic problems. first one being – stop trying to have more than the neighbor – be happy with what you have and can afford…. I am becoming a right out pretentious prick.. sorry, it just really really annoys me.

  • hildigunnur June 29, 2008, 3:04 pm

    I was in Sweden at the time of the concert, but the teenager went with her friends.

    It’s so incredibly stupid, basically giving our power away (the alu plants get it really horribly cheap) and all for the same thing. What if the aluminium prices start to fall?

  • linguaphile June 30, 2008, 7:14 pm

    There are many examples of this type of ‘corporate welfare’ that have gone on in the U.S. It most always ends badly, and with the companies abandoning a town or city for a better deal somewhere else. Compromising Iceland’s beauty for a one-time profit is a terrible decision! Don’t these politicians (and voters) care about the kind of world they’re leaving to their children and grandchildren?

  • hildigunnur July 1, 2008, 9:12 pm

    Apparently not :<