Posted by: ecodestination | March 9, 2009

Iceland: amazingly sustainable

Horse in countryside

Horse in countryside

Last time I touted Kalmar, Sweden as an ideal ecotourism destination because it’s going green fast-plus it’s beautiful, of course. Today I will tout Iceland! (Sure, you think “brrr this blogger is friggin nuts!!” now because it’s probably winter where you live, but come summer you may start fantasizing about traveling somewhere fresh, clean, and COLD!)

I would say Iceland should change its name to Greenland, but that would cause trouble. In any case, Iceland is proving to be one of the most progressive (it did breed Bjork, after all, heheh) and green-friendly countries in the world. So despite their recent economic meltdown, Iceland has gotten its ass in gear and is relying mostly on its own energy!

Here’s a brief on Iceland’s progress:

–         1970s: Iceland relies on imported coal for 75% of its energy

–         2007:  more than 82% of its energy comes from geothermal and hydropower! Oil makes up just 16% of its energy source and is reserved for cars and fishing fleets.

–         2009: 99+% of Iceland’s electricity comes from hydropower and geothermal energy!

–         By 2050: the country’s goal is to be energy-independent

“It’s our goal to be a carbon-free and oil-free country by 2050,” asserts Össur Skarphédinsson, Iceland’s minister of industry and energy.

Take a bath!

Take a bath!

Imagine this: frequent earthquakes (last May it was a 6.3) that cause intense geothermic activity-Iceland has 200+ volcanoes, 600+ hot springs, and 20+ scalding steam fields. They have no coal, petroleum, or even trees-can you even imagine that? Tundra city all the way. And all this has led them to become practical, harnessing their geothermic activity for heat for many centuries.

I’ve always been intrigued by places so close to the poles-how do they handle it? What are their secrets? How does their culture significantly differ from that of warmer climates (does it?). What do their landscapes look like up close? What does their air smell like? What does it feel like to have hours of sunlight per day, or 14?!

Now (okay, supposing I could afford the trip and all) I could find the answers to those questions while at the same time knowing I would be supporting a laudable effort by honorable people to make the world a better place.

Read more about Iceland’s progress here.



  1. […] is up with the Nordic countries? I have recently posted about similar amazing happenings in Sweden, Iceland, and now Denmark. Seriously. Probably, had I grown up there, I would have a greater resistance to […]

  2. […] Seems like Iceland’s got a rival: the Maldives wants to be the first carbon neutral country (and they plan to do it by 2020, not 2050!). […]

  3. […] It turns out that, overall, large cities’ greenhouse gas emissions are lower than those of rural areas-much lower. Go figure. Maybe it’s a good idea to vacation in cities, then, and particularly in green ones if you can find them! *Cough* *Cough* […]

  4. […] remember Iceland? Its city Reykjavik relies on geothermal and hydropower for heating and most electricity. It has […]

  5. […] previously mentioned, not only Reykjavík but also the entirety of Iceland is going 100% fossil-fuel free by 2050, […]

  6. […] but if you’re into kids, think about them! They’ll benefit! Note 2: why 100 years? 2050’s far enough into the future! Not to mention the Maldives’ 2020 […]

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