The same as anywhere else. You channel a river system through a hydroelectric dam to power an aluminum smelter for the industrial and economic elite, and deposit the water in the next valley, claiming that all environmental standards have been met… … kill the sacred lake, the birthplace of Iceland’s country and the modern state. This is, of course, called progress. These images were taken in Hallormstaðir, the Town of Rowans, a sacred place a couple hours by foot from Gunnar’s house. It’s a good thing he’s not there to see it!
Tomorrow, I’m off to Campbell River on Vancouver Island, to present the 4th Annual Haig-Brown Memorial Lecture in Environmental Writing. I will be arguing that this Icelandic River lies at the heart of Canadian political and environmental traditions, and is a place to situate our government.
Talking with the earth and including it in our social group is not a new idea. It is at the root of English. In fact, it is at the root of being human. If we, the people, reclaim that language, the government will follow. It will take time, but over time, we will speak again. Some of us will even speak like this.
Harold Thinking Out Loud in East Iceland, April
When I get back, I’ll tell you all about it.