Iceland – The Greenest Country on Earth?

Living in London for the past year has opened up my eyes to the pollution that these jumbo cities produce. Excess waste litters the street and toxic levels of pollution are at such a record high, with the Mayor of London encouraging people to stay indoors at one point! I felt the immediate effects when I first moved to London from the clean, some-what unpolluted air of Perth (Western Australia). In London, I was constantly run down and felt my lungs tighten if I was walking outside for too long. This is not the way our planet should be.

Whilst on my trip to Iceland I have been amazed at how conscious they are of protecting their environment.

ECO – friendly Accommodation

I have been staying at Loft Hostel in central Reykjavik. Along with many hostels in Iceland, they encourage guests to recycle all of their waste. The shared kitchen has a well organised recycling sorting system and I was delighted to see a bulletin board which has events occurring in the area that centred around environmentalism. There was even a free cinema screening of a new documentary about conservation! This movement seems to be spread across the city of Reykjavik.


Green Houses

Throughout the countryside of Iceland you will find greenhouses scattered across the flat landscapes. Here they grow different types of produce all year round, even bananas! It may sound bizarre however I feel the benefits out weigh the concerns that some may have. The energy consumed in Iceland is all renewable, sourced from geothermal power. Upon visiting one of the green houses I was informed that no pesticides what so ever are used on their greenhouse-grown tomatoes. They import bees to help pollinate the flowers (ethical questions here I suppose) and when they are picked they are transported straight to the local markets that very day. The consumer knows exactly which farm the produce has come from and it hasn’t been through thousands of kilometres of transport, thus reducing the carbon footprint. Much more sustainable and I am certain the nutritional value of these foods is substantially higher than those that are mass produced and exported from countries on the other side of the world. It is important to note however that demand for this fresh produce is much smaller in relation to population size (Reykjavik only has a population of over 100 000 people).

tomatoes iceland.jpg

Icelandic tomatoes grown in a greenhouse. 


Iceland aren’t perfect by any means (let’s consider the killing of whales and puffins for meat and the other effects that the booming tourist industry has on the land). However overall I think they are an inspiration to other countries. We could definitely take a leaf out of their book.



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