SI Conference Declaration 2007

This declaration was made in consensus by dozens of people attending the first Saving Iceland conference, ‘Global Consequences of Heavy Industry and Large Dams’ on July 7-8, 2007. [Video report part 1 | 2]

We are gathered in Olfus, Iceland, we are people from more than fifteen different countries and five continents. We are here to share our experiences of heavy industry, dams, transnational companies and other expressions of globalisation, in Iceland, in Brazil, in South Africa, in Denmark, in Canada, in England, Germany, India, Trinidad and Tobago and many other countries.
We are not professional protestors. Unlike the well-paid corporate lobbyists and spindoctors that try to sell you heavy industry, none of us gets payed to be here. We are ordinary people, we are teachers, nurses, youth workers, students, shopworkers, fathers, mothers. We are here because we care. The Icelandic wilderness is unique. It is the largest in Europe and one of the few wild places left on this continent. Its beauty and uniqueness and fire and ice are a heritage we must preserve and must defend. It is the heritage and responsibility and privilege of all Icelanders, and all Europeans, and all humans…

We are global citizens in opposition to global companies.

We find it remarkable that in all our countries, we see and suffer from transnational companies following the same blueprint. All around the world, in north and south, in present and past, the same ugly picture is grey and black. We see the same patterns wrought by corporations. Patterns of ecological devastation. Of total disrespect for human rights. Of creating an environment that is unhealthy to live, where we do not want to raise our children anymore. Of the destruction of communities. Of the corruption and manipulation of governments.

We stand in solidarity with each other, we have a common struggle against common enemies such as ALCAN, RUSAL, ALCOA and Century Aluminum.

Icelanders’ do not forget what these foreign companies have done in the past and are doing now. How these people lie and bribe your government. People from Africa, from South America and many places tell you � do not trust them. Do not walk into this trap. It is the trap of neo-colonialism. It is the trap of false promises. How will you face your children if you sacrifice this country, this unique and unspoilt country.

Progress is painted by some as huge projects, large scale development. In all our countries, these have become disasters, socially, ecologically, economically. Progress is a plenitude of small solutions. We should let a thousand flowers bloom.

Inform yourself. Make up your own mind. Do not stay sitting on the fence, as if it doesn�t affect you. You have to make a decision.

Dams in Iceland only provide electricity temporarily � they are not a long term solution. They emit greenhouse gases just as aluminium smelters do in huge amounts. It is not a green metal at all. If you allow these factories, all the credit you have under the Kyoto Protocol will vanish like snow. If we do not face the dangers of climate change, our world will become unlivable.

What is this all for? You pride yourself for not having an army, but 30% of aluminium is produced for the military, for war effort, for tanks, for missiles. Will you let your wilderness be destroyed so that countries can bomb each other? Or do you prefer to sacrifice it for Pepsi-cans?

It is not that Iceland will be sacrificed so other places will be saved. The aluminium industry will build devastating smelters in South Africa and Trinidad, and all the major rivers of the Amazon are threatened by large dams for heavy industry.

Why more aluminium? Why more dams? What kind of world will we end up with and what will we become?

We can all make a difference. Raise consciousness. Mount pressure. Bring information to schools, bring it to your work and your communities. Everyone can care, no matter how large or small they are, because we are all human. Inform yourself. Make up your own mind or it will be made up for you.


Abigail Ley, USA
Alona Kononovica, Latvia
Antje Hersrick, Germany
Astrid Österreicher, Austria
Attillah Springer, Trinidad & Tobago
Bettine van Rijnswou, the Netherlands
Birgitta Jonsdottir, Iceland
Cirineu da Rocha, Movement of Dam Affected People MAB, Brazil
Daniel Nemeryi, England
Einar Rafn Þorhallson, Iceland
Eric Duchemin, Nature Quebeq, Canada
Gigja Sara Björnsson, Iceland/France
Gudmundur M.H. Beck, Iceland
Helen B, England
Jaap Krater, the Netherlands
Joanna Pasol, Austria
Johann Oli, Birdlife, Iceland
Jon G. Hefsteinsson
L. Maregele, South Africa
Laura Lnakkoiun, Finland
Mimi Sheller, USA
Olafur Pall Sigurdsson, Iceland
Patricia von Moravie, Germany/Austria
Rebecca Evans, England
Rev. Billy Talen, USA
Savitri D, USA
Spring Exprit, Austria/Spain
Trude Menrath, Germany
Wouter vd Pool, the Netherlands

And others.

Conference Photo Gallery

3 Responses to “SI Conference Declaration 2007”

  1. AlexM says:

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  2. […] Iceland network, Ólafur organized a weekend long international conference in Iceland, titled Global Consequences of Heavy Industry and Large Dams. He has played a key role in developing the Icelandic environmentalist movement’s arguments […]