Dec 16 2007

Icelandic Santas Cause Mischief in Hengill

santacrUpdate: check out the new ‘Potatoes for Heavy Industry’ film on YouTube. [In Icelandic and English]

On Saturday nine ‘jólasveinar’ wandered into the Hellisheiði Powerplant by Mount Hengill, expressing their opposition to the rise of heavy industry and other nature devastating activities in Iceland, as well as solidarity with human nature conservationists. (The jolasveinar are 13 Icelandic santas, born of a child-eating troll mother, who descend from the mountains in the days before christmas to sneak through the houses, stealing, teasing and causing mischief.)

“We decided to take a stroll by there before coming to town, and give out rotten potatoes to the naughty industrialists, and maybe a gift or two to the workers that do their jobs badly” said Pottaskefill (Pot scraper) on behalf of the group. Naughty Icelandic children such as these traditionally get a rotten potato in their christmas shoe.

The mischievous siblings blundered into the work site as the snow fell, greeting workers and security guards with beautifully wrapped shells and stones, containing appeals from Icelandic nature. Aluminium cans and potatoes were also dealt out by the cheeky group who ran through the constructions, playing on machinery and singing christmas songs to the amusement of all present.

The sensitive geothermal fields around Mount Hengill have already suffered enough exploitation from Orkuveita Reykjavikur (OR). At the moment Hellisheiðarvirkjun produces about three times more energy for heavy industry than for domestic use. Plans to triple the powerplant are imminent and OR has openly announced that one reason for expanding is the growing demand for electricity for heavy industry, especially the planned Helguvik Aluminium smelter and expansions to other smelters around Reykjavik.

The Hengill geothermal area is a rare and stunning wilderness of hot springs, steaming fumaroles and rolling lava fields. Here the extreme environment has attracted NASA and other scientists to study the formation of life on earth, and the vast range of unique species that exist in the deep caves of this unearthly landscape. The massive exploitation of energy resources here is already seriously affecting the sensitive ecosystems. Hot waste water pumped into lake Þingvallavatn (Iceland’s most sacred lake) has left the north of the lake biologically dead, while Hydrogen Sulphide emissions are turning metal lamposts black in the area. There are already more greenhouse gases released from the Reykjanes peninsula power plants than from the Straumsvik Aluminium smelter.

SI along with jólasveinar, trolls, elves and other natural beings of this beautiful country opposes the proposed enlargements and declares their intentions to continue visiting them until this gross disregard of nature stops.

See frettir article (in Icelandic) at-


The Jolasveinar run towards Hellisheidivirkjun



Potatoes for naughty industrialists



singing carols while work stops



More naughty boys… and girl