It’s Time for Radical Action

Ragnhildur Þrastardóttir, the Editor of the Student Paper

Ragnhildur Þrastardóttir, the Editor of the Student Paper

Translation: Julie Summers

We’re running out of time. Well, not those of us who have destroyed the environment the most (i.e. the Icelandic people), but rather people in distant lands for whom we’ve destroyed the environment. Here on our little island, we’re barely aware of the great consequences our daily consumption habits have on our planet. And what are we doing about it? Absolutely nothing.

In an interview in our latest issue, you’ll read that humanity would need 27 earths if every person around the globe had the same consumption habits as Icelanders. Surely, anyone can see that that’s not okay. Still, the environmental crisis is nearly invisible here in Iceland, at least compared to elsewhere. We import food products, buy clothing made in Indonesia and China, and travel abroad to go on shopping sprees, all to make sure that our own home, our green and environmentally friendly Iceland, doesn’t pay the price for our consumerism.

Even the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources of our so-called green nation admits that we’re running out of time. Our natural resources are quickly being depleted, disappearing like the sand in an hourglass. But unlike an hourglass, there’s no flipping it over and starting again when it comes to our planet. Either we work fast and find ways to stop those last few grains of sand from slipping away, or we never will.

Sure, the government recently proposed an extensive plan of action to address the climate crisis, but is that enough? It’s difficult to place responsibility for environmental issues entirely on the shoulders of the individual; the government must act now. And it’s not just time for action, it’s time for radical action. It’s time to limit air travel, eliminate unnecessary plastic packaging, and go even further to limit the emission allowances of airlines and heavy industry. It’s time for radicalism, because that’s humanity’s only chance.

There have been a lot of complaints recently to the effect that people with uteruses aren’t using them enough, that is, aren’t having enough children. The way things are now, we Icelanders aren’t reproducing fast enough to replace the population. But is that a problem? Isn’t it actually wonderful that we, the biggest consumers on earth, are becoming fewer? Isn’t that exactly the best thing we could do given the situation, to limit population growth? The earth reached its limit a long time ago, and it can’t take any more. We have to stop.