Welcome!

Welcome to SavingIceland.org! Read the S.O.S. and About SI section if you are new to our site. Iceland Under Threat shows the wilderness we need to protect and the corporations bent on ruining it. Make sure to enjoy our video and photo galleries, our in-depth magazine Voices of the Wilderness and subscribe to our mailinglist and follow our Twitter feed to keep up to date.

Apr 23 2006

The Nature Killers – A Brief Run Down of the Corporations Involved in the Kárahnjúkar Dam

CorporateNews.org.uk
April 4th, 2005

Barclays Bank
Already fund the notorious Narmada dam project in India – and have played a ‘key role’ in financing the dam by arranging a $400 million loan to Landsvirkjun, the Icelandic power company that will run the dam.

Impregilo

work 

Dodgy Italian construction conglomerate, in charge of building most of the dam . One of Impregilo’s consultants has already been found guilty in 2003 of offering bribes to a Lesotho hydro-electric firm, and the company itself will face another hearing before the Lesotho courts in April 2005. Impregilo were also involved in building the Argentina’s Yacyreta dam, which went almost $10 million over budget and was labeled byPresident Carlos Menem ‘a monument to corruption’ . Impregilo were also one of the firms planning to build the infamous Ilisu dam.

Invest In Iceland
Part of the Icelandic Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Promotes investment in Iceland, and seem to be one of the quasi-governmental agencies that has been pushing for the hydro dam.

National Power Company of Iceland (Landsvirkjun)
This is the company that will run the Karahnjukar dam. Initially set up to explore hyro-electric power opportunities, Landsvirkjun now supplies electricity to the whole of Iceland. Owned jointly by theIcelandic State (50%) and the two biggest towns Reykjav í k (45%) and Akureyri (5%). Landsvirkjun also take part in greenwash operations with Alcoa, such as ‘The Alcoa/Landsvirkjun Sustainability Group’, which co-oprdinates projects such as spreading hay to stop soil erosion – which won’t, however, stop the massive erosion caused by the dryung out of dammed river beds. More on greenwash in the Alcoa section. You can track the progress on the dam, day by day, on this part of their website: http://www.karahnjukar.is/en/

Alcoa
The US company that will run the aluminium smelter. Alcoa is the world’s largest producer of aluminium, serves the most industries as well as producing ‘bacofoil’. It is very influential in US as well as Icelandic poltics: Ethical Consumer described Alcoa’s operations as ‘a near textbook example of how to win friends in high places’, counting the US Treasury Secretary, Paul O ’ Neill, as one of its former CEOs. While a major polluter, Alcoa undertakes greenwashing exercises such as the ‘Alcoa forest’ project, which claims to plant ‘ten million trees’. However, in Western Australia Alcoa have simply planted trees on top of the blasted and mined remains of former forest land; the new growth cannot compensate for the loss old eco-system, resulting in substantial erosion of topsoil. Read More

Apr 17 2006

Invitation to the Saving Iceland Gathering

It’s time to organise the 2006 camp!

Read More

Mar 27 2006

Saving Iceland in Madrid!

Hola,
The workshop tour is now in Madrid where yesterday a warm reception was given to us at the ‘Centro Social’ Cal Seco No 39. We witnessed the effervescent and amazing skills of the local Samba band, enjoyed great food with the 40 people who attended the workshop and then after films about the Saving Iceland campaign we had a lively discussion sharing in the experiences and ideas of the people who attended. There was interest from people in travelling to Iceland for this summers protest camp; there was also much support for solidarity actions here in Spain.

Yesterdays workshop was an example of the reception that the tour has had thus far. From Dublin to Bilbao, from Porto to Lisboa and now Madrid, the interest and the hospitality has been wonderful and inspiring. A big thanks to all our hosts so far, thanks for the messages of support and we look forward to working with you all again soon.
We are again in Madrid today, the 27th March and will be visiting Traficantes de Suenos.
Tommorrow we head to Valencia inspired and encouraged by the solidarity and effort in the struggle against the climatic and environmental destructive effects of heavy industry.

Hasta luego

Mar 17 2006
3 Comments

Iceland: Greenpeace’s Shameful Silence

By Merrick

The Icelandic government is planning to destroy the largest remaining intact wilderness in Europe by building the Kárahnjúkar dam. It will be the largest dam of its kind in Europe, creating a reservoir of around 60 sq km. It’s not just that the submerged land will be obliterated, but the land beyond the dam will be deprived of water.

The area is land of huge ecological significance, designated an environmentally protected area, the oldest surviving areas of Iceland’s original vegetation. Around 380 square miles will be directly affected, with adjacent rivers, land and sea secondarily impacted.

To give you some context, it’s a reservoir roughly the size of Oxford with devastating direct impact on a surrounding delicate unspoilt ecosystem the size of Greater London. Read More

Mar 16 2006

Megaprojects and Risk – An Anatomy of Ambition

In this book Bent Flyvbjerg and others outline the exact blueprint of the methods employed by the Icelandic authorities to drive through their energy policies. Original edition is in Danish.

“Megaprojects and Risk provides the first detailed examination of the phenomenon of megaprojects. It is a fascinating account of how the promoters of multi-billion dollar megaprojects systematically and self-servingly misinform parliaments, the public and the media in order to get projects approved and built. It shows, in unusual depth, how the formula for approval is an unhealthy cocktail of underestimated costs, overestimated revenues, undervalued environmental impacts and overvalued economic development effects. This results in projects that are extremely risky, but where the risk is concealed from MPs, taxpayers and investors. The authors not only explore the problems but also suggest practical solutions drawing on theory, experience and hard, scientific evidence from the several hundred projects in twenty nations and five continents that illustrate the book. Accessibly written, it will be the standard reference for students, scholars, planners, economists, auditors, politicians and interested citizens for many years to come.” Read More

Mar 14 2006

‘Pure Iceland’ Exhibition Hit with Pure Truth!

On Tuesday 14th March 2006 in solidarity of the ‘Day of action against dams’, the ‘Pure Iceland’ exhibition at the Science Museum in London was the focus of activists highlighting the heavy industrialisation and destruction of Iceland’s natural resources. Saving Iceland stickers were plastered around the exhibition of “pure” lies, especially focussing on Landsvirkjun the Icelandic National Power Company’s sponsorship plaques at the exhibition. Information boards and leaflets were subverted with a few “pure” truths about the Icelandic government’s sell out to the international aluminium industry. A Saving Iceland poster also managed to find its way up onto the huge billboard sized map of Iceland in the centre of the exhibition, marking the place where the Behemoth and environmental catastrophe, Karahnjukar dams is being constructed. Saving Iceland leaflets were handed out and many people were interested in discussing the issues of Icelandic Government’s and corporations lies and corruption.

Many people shoved support for the action and some expressed interest in coming to this years’ summer camp.

Mar 13 2006

Saving Iceland European Tour

boldformation2

The Saving Iceland European popular education and workshop tour continues into Spain today. After an amazing welcome in Ireland at the Anarchist Bookfair in Dublin and then with such an inspiring and successful visit to the Shell to Sea campaign at Rossport in the North West of Ireland the tour hopes to continue in the same vein, discussing the issues around heavy industry, climate change and the industrialisation and corporate sell off of our environment. We have already seen many links between the Saving Iceland campaign and other campaigns so far and hope to report more on similar struggles and the links and friends we make along the way as the weeks unfold. Read More

Mar 13 2006

Economics Professor Doubts Icelandic Economy Can Handle new smelter

3 March 2006
Iceland Review

Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, RÚV, continues to report on public reaction to the announcement earlier this week of a memorandum of understanding between Alcoa and the Icelandic government concerning a feasibility study for a new aluminum smelter near Húsavík.

RÚV quotes professor of economics and director of the Economics Institute at the University of Iceland, Tryggvi Thór Herbertsson, saying that the Icelandic economy is unable to handle all the projects currently being planned.

In addition to Alcoa’s proposed new smelter, Alcan and Century Aluminum are also reported to be interested in adding capacity to their existing operations in Iceland.

Other proposed state-sponsored projects include a new hospital in Reykjavík and a new road from Reykjavík to Kjalarnes, the so-called Sundabraut.

According to RÚV, Tryggvi Thór said that “nobody thinks we can carry all of [the proposed projects] out at the same time…that would be far too much.”

Jón Bjarki Bentsson at Íslandsbanki’s research department said to RÚV that if the smelters are built other export industries would run into trouble. He also said that the Icelandic economy was flexible and had adjusted well in the past, both to downturns and upswings. If the projects were to move ahead, Icelanders could expect high interest rates and a high exchange rate, said Jón Bjarki.

Mar 10 2006

All Things Alcoa: Smelt Like Dishonesty

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Friday, March 10, 2006

Pittsburgh organizations dependent on philanthropic funding from Alcoa Inc. should remember that this is not your father’s aluminum company.

Alcoa, created in the Pittsburgh region in 1888, has been a fine corporate citizen. The Alcoa Foundation it created in 1952 had been very generous to local nonprofit organizations. The foundation contributed $4.1 million in Western Pennsylvania in 2001. But only $1.5 million last year. Read More

Mar 09 2006

Alcan Threatens Icelandic Government

Alcan has announced that it may well pull out of Iceland if it does not get the go-ahead to expand its factory at Straumsvík. The announcement was made after talks between Alcan and the PM Asgrimsson. Alcan would appear to have been pressuring the Icelandic Government into making available electricity to support the expansion program. This would entail the building of more dams and thus continuing the ongoing ecological destruction of the Icelandic wilderness.

This is a clear example of a large corporation attempting to exert economic dominance over a small democracy, a tactic echoed throughout the world where corporations gain ground to unduly influence goverments economic policy.

Saving Iceland rejoices at the idea of ALCAN leaving Iceland for good. They should also have the decency to leave India and the long suffering Adivasi people of Kashipur in peace. See www.kashipur.info

Celebrations have been announced in Reykjavik.