Climate change in Iceland
We have met Godzilla in Iceland!
Our recent stay in Iceland was astonishing and full of discoveries! This country is simply awesome!
As every person should know, the human being is part of “nature”. Even if he seems to rule his environment, the man must recognize that he is not more important than any other being on earth. Even though his “complexity” brought him to technological achievements never reached before, this should come with great respect for the nature and a great part of humility.
And if someone is not convinced of that, a stay in Iceland will bring to him many occasions to prove it. Maybe Mr Trump would learn a lot if he could spend some time there…
Geology and history of earth
When we arrived in Iceland, the 9th of June 2018, we were interested by geological phenomenon, especially the only encounter on earth between the Atlantic and European rifts over the sea level. We were really impressed by the Þingvellir’s site. It was quite unique to walk between these two tectonic plates. The symbolic significance of this site, chosen to be the first European government, tells us the importance of this site. And if Leonard Cohen is right when he sings “there is a crack in everything”, this one brought us 4 billion years ago, when the tectonic plates begun to draw the shadow of the today’s continents! How humble were we, walking between these two huge pieces of earth still moving in opposite ways!
We are accustomed to look at our world using a short temporal scale. We talk about years, sometimes about centuries, but when we start using a millions and billions of years scale, it gives to us a complete different vision of our world. And when we learn that Iceland is an 20 millions years old island, we understand how young it is, and in the same time, how fragile it is, because its “under construction” state!
Who can live inside a lava cave?
And what a better way to understand this constant transformation than to visit a lava cave! So we went to the Raufarhólshellir lava cave near Hveragerði, created 5 200 years ago during the Leitahraun volcano eruption, leaving on his way a 1,4 km lava tunnel.
We also met a very interesting guide who explained to us how such a cave has been created during the eruption. This was our first speleological experience, and we were really fascinated being inside a lava cave. And when he made us experiment complete darkness, we wondered about what kind of living being could survive in such an environment! So, my friend who was close to me said: “Godzilla is the only living being able to survive in these conditions”! Everybody laughed and the guide said: “If it is, we should be aware that it still lives here on the roof of this cave, look upstairs”. And he took his light showing to us some kind of whitish stuff. So he asked to the crew, “do you know what it is?” And he said: “these are bacterias. They are the only known living being, that could survive in the complete darkness, and no fresh air!” From there, we called these bacterias, Godzilla. So we could remember how hard, it could have been for a living being, to survive in such hostile conditions. What a struggle, it has been!
We then understood that Iceland was the result of a long and perilous trip, where life has been confronted to a very harsh environment, and still capable to survive and reproduce. It taught to us how resilient life had to be during all those years.
But even though that capacity has been involved since its creation, we became aware of how much fragile that nature could be, constantly fighting against its own rules, but also influenced by all that the man did to it, particularly since the 19th century.
Climate changes in Iceland!
This brought us to Jökulsárlón, where we observed in real time the constant erosion of the Vatnajökull glacier. Since almost 50 years now, the scientific community tells us to be aware of the main consequence of pollution in our environment, climatic changes. Here in Jökulsárlón, everybody can observe in real time the impacts of the climatic changes on the environment. The Vatnajökull is the greatest glacier of Europe and its proximity of the road 1 allow us to observe the ice melting in front of us.
Even the Arctic terns, which lives into a protected area, makes us believe that they don’t agree with the structures built by the men.
When you take the time to look at the waves formed by the glacier, it seems that it will get over the cars coming too close of it, letting us think that the glacier would like to crush the cars which produce all that pollution!
These examples increased our consciousness of the emergency to reduce our ecological footprint. We all knew that before to go to Iceland but looking at it with our own eyes made it more real.
Thank’s to our camper which took us to these marvelous sites. It allowed us to enjoy some pretty hot springs, beyond mainstream sites. This one located in Landbrotalaug, was especially quiet and unique. It was not easy to find, but it was worthwhile.
It also gave to us the freedom needed to stop anytime at any place without few planning, giving to us the capacity to discover instead of being trapped in a routine already planned and boring. The space inside was just fine and the equipment was complete. We really did appreciate the little heater. Some nights, the temperature was near 0ºC…
Thank’s also to Godzilla who pointed out to us the direction that nature took to become what it is today. Yet we knew that nature was powerful and much stronger than man! But our stay in Iceland reconnected us with the biosphere, and reconduct our beliefs in the interdependence of everything. The place of men in the nature is no more central. It stays there among other living beings.
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