From left: Jóhannes Þórðarsson, dean of the Faculty of Design in Iceland, John Thackara, design and world developer and Sóley Stefánsdóttir, graphic designer and environmental and gender developer. All walking next to a boiling hot spring in Geysir area in Iceland.

My friend John Thackara came to visit Iceland to participate in the grand national meeting about design policy for my country. You can see their presentations here in an earlier blog. After the meeting we spent two days travelling for John getting to know the conditions in Iceland and the potentials and dangers that the nation is facing these days. Iceland is torn between basically two blocks of people:

One wanting to develop business however and whatever the costs and

The other wanting to look after the country to create a potential future for everyone in harmony with nature and location.

My hunch is that these blocks are similar in size, which is actually a rather recent condition since until quite recently the later protective group of people were much fewer. They were considered reactionary conservatives fighting for nature in opposition to the profit driven capitalistic drive. This is a similar condition that actually drives most developing economies like Iceland and many of the countries that I am involved with in Africa. The local people do not care about the future or nature if they can have a fast buck. This has been very much the attitude in Iceland for the last 3 to 4 decades and large parts of the exceptional nature in Iceland has been destroyed by power stations and aluminium smelting factories.
Today there seem to be happening some changes in the attitudes of more Icelanders. People have started talking about agriculture anew, nature being the generator of health and prosperity rather than fast bucks from large international factories. I have the feeling that the same is happening now in Greenland where Alcoa, an aluminium company that has destroyed parts of Icelandic nature, is planning an aluminium factory that will have 100 times the national turnover of the country itself. Many more examples of this is happening but I do not bother to write about that here.
Parts of Icelanders seem to be changing mentally after the financial crash. Of course not everybody but the public has started having ideas about the future of Iceland rather than the financial gain by a small group of entrepreneurs. Of course the younger people are opposed to the rip off economy that existed here before 2008, when everything crashed and the banks collapsed.

A coffee break next to Brúarhlöð in Iceland. We had such mellow time that we almost did not want to go further. But later we had a hot spring bath in Landmannalaugar.

It was fun to take John around and have long term conversations about potential changes and completely necessary changes that are needed since today we are using 1,4 earth while there is only 1 earth available for us to use. We can only survive in this form for ca 20-30 years through slow collapse. Or the other potential future can be that we will join forces to change internally and start living on earth in the form that is possible for the human race.

Here is a photo album from Landmannalaugar and the trip.