At one incident in the 1920s, worldwide companies wished-for to buy domain neighbour Gullfoss, in the southwesterly twenty-five percent of Iceland, and height a hydroelectric manufacturing works near. Sigríður Tómasdóttir, the girl of a area farmer, helped lead the hatred to the industrial unit. As a rally she walked all the way to Reykjavík and even threatened to chuck herself over and done with the falls if the selling went done. Although the senate did not intervene, she and her fellow opponents prevailed, and the topography was specified terminated to a quality protect.

Iceland's view has been molded by occurrence and ice: it is a icebound come to rest that is ever letting off haze. More than 200 volcanoes, U-shaped valleys, jagged lava fields, hot springs and geysers and the biggest icecap in Europe - larger than all the land European glaciers put both - go to write a rugged, outlandish landscape contradictory thing else on Earth. About 80% of Iceland's park is volcanic rock desert, glaciers or lakes; the lone tillable areas are on the shore. Of the 300,000 or so Icelanders who sparsely domiciliate this island, quite a few simple fraction have your home in the capital, Reykjavik.

Until recently, the Tómasdóttir subject matter was a occurrence. Icelanders have been so nearly new to having clean air, spick-and-span water, cleaned everything that they hardly detected when these tremendous resources were threatened.

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Things Are Changing - For Worse

The giant $3 a billion Kárahnjúkar dam, due to be realised this year, will submerge below 150 metres of binary compound a yet full 57 quadrate km of wilderness, boasting pouring rivers, noisy waterfalls, multi-coloured mountains and mossy highlands of scotland aflame near flowers. The project, planned solely to drive an metal smeltery additional downcast the valley at Reydalfjordur, has system leg and will be remunerated for by Landsvirkjun, the political unit strength band. The electricity it generates is contractile for public sale for 50 age to the American al giant Alcoa, which is last two smelters in the US and relocating to Iceland as a cost-cutting judge.

After what it claims were general syndicate input signal and biological science studies, Alcoa is hasty complementary building of the Fjarðaál ("aluminum of the fjords") smelter, which is awaited to compile hundreds of jobs in Iceland, some in the artifact and in following industries. Late in March this year, the preliminary yacht carrying freight for the works arrived in Reydarfjordur. The Pine Arrow was transferral nearly 40,000 tonnes of aluminium oxide from Western Australia, after a seafaring of 44 years. It takes almost two tonnes of corundum to garden truck one weight unit of al.

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So far so good, it may be. Four a hundred jobs, an add-on to the scheme and the harnessing of instinctive supremacy.

Karahnjukar Dam

But a action called Saving Iceland, a organisation of groups opponent further development, is up in weapons system. The area of the dam is one of the primary breeding limits for deer. It is a secure nesting base for thousands of pink-footed geese and a predilection stamping ground of the white owl, ptarmigan and the majestic gyrfalcon. The stone formations - red, achromatic and all insignia of the rainbow - are a innovative register of 10,000 geezerhood of earth science and environmental condition change, providing clues to scientists worldwide, studying, among some other things, global warm. All this is to vanish underneath h2o. The natural impinging of the extend beyond spreads noticeably wider than this upland geographical area and the fjord down below. Other rivers will be disturbed, the environment of animals such as as seals will be annihilated and an officially battlemented area, Kringilsarrani, will be knocked-out. Many geologists anxiety catastrophic in flood may conclusion from repetitive glacial surges and eruptions in Kárahnjúkar's construction region. They besides inquiry the wisdom of site a substantial dam on a substructure lessened by geothermal fissures.

"It is a very uncommon personality that we are the guardians of," says Olafur Pall Sigurdsson, one of the organisers of Saving Iceland, "and we are waste it."

Last September, Omar Ragnarsson, one of the country's most valued video reporters, proclaimed that he could no longer wrapping the Kárahnjúkar hang over beside impartiality and would solicit votes hostile it. Answering his call, much than 8,000 race attended an anti-dam organize in Reykjavik. In 2006 Andri Snaer Magnason, a poet, playwright and novelist, published Dreamland, an overpoweringly plausible autograph album that puts Iceland's biology issues into a worldwide view.

Alcoa acknowledges that any human steps forward end in changes inwardly the situation. It claims to have a unit of 60 people, all experts in their field, in a job to ornamentation the jut out over in conformation next to Alcoa's long goals for sustainable improvement.

Iceland's Goals

What around Iceland's semipermanent goals? It is awkward to harmonise Alcoa's voice communication with the authenticity of this monster, which dominates the panorama - the most important dam 190m high, 730m widespread and 53 km of tunnels, the large edifice of its form in Europe. Nor is it by a long way comfort that Alcoa has launched its "Ten Million Trees" programme, protrusive beside the location of seedlings in the Reydarfjordur district. True, Iceland's is a crude landscape, so deforested that the affairs of state nearly new to (and perhaps still does) hand woody plant seeds to residents and ask them to send out the seeds from their cars where they went.

Can Alcoa Forest peradventure construct up for Alcoa's unnatural despoliation of the land?

Sensitive eco-tourists can change to Iceland's scheme and well-being, lacking doing damage, by traveling lightly, attractive singular photographs and going away lonesome footprints. AwimAway's Iceland Gold tour (www.awimaway.com) takes in all the witching wonders of Iceland in a common and environmentally affable way.

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