Articles

Jul 06 2008

Iceland Overheats


Icelandic Economy Suffers as Century Shareholders Make Record Profit
By Jaap Krater

As inflation rates in Iceland soared to 8.7% and the Icelandic krona lost a third of it’s value, US-based Century Aluminum started construction of a much disputed aluminium smelter at Helguvik, southwest of the capital Reykjavik. The Icelandic economy is suffering from overheating as billions are spent on construction of new power plants and heavy industry projects. The central bank raised the overnight interest rate to a whopping 15% to control further price increases as Icelanders see their money’s value disappearing like snow. It would seem that the last thing the tiny Icelandic economy needs is further capital injections.

But Icelandic investors are making record profits from the new projects. The value of shares sold to them by Century less than a year ago to finance the Helguvik smelter has increased by 33%, though the company has not made a profit in years. Read More

Jun 24 2008

Lies and Quibbles – About Alcoa’s Weapon Production


By Snorri Páll Jónsson Úlfhildarson, originally published in Morgunblaðið – Erna Indriðadóttir, Alcoa’s P.R. manager wrote an article in Morgunblaðið where she intended to answer Björk Guðmundsdóttir’s writings about Alcoa. Indriðadóttir’s answer is pathetic and a reason to write more articles than this one. But what stands out is her quibble about Alcoa’s weapon production and human right abuses. Indriðadóttir reckons that Guðmundsdóttir is talking about the fact that “aluminium is used in almost all vehicles under the sun, incl. fighting jets, space shuttles and missiles.” And the whitewash continues when she talks about Alcoa’s social responsability and its sustainability projects. 

Using the same words as Indriðadóttir, this has been said before. This same quibble has always been used when Alcoa has been accused of links with the war industry and weapon production. The company’s principals here in Iceland repeatedly try to make it look like Alcoa only produces aluminium and sells it, but does not have anything to say about the future life of is produce. This myth should have been destroyed long time ago.

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May 29 2008
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Founder of Saving Iceland Acquitted


iceland-police-state.jpgÓlafur Páll Sigurðsson, the founder of Saving Iceland, has been acquitted. Sigurðsson had been accused of vandalizing a police car, using only his fists.
In the end of July 2006, during the 2nd protest camp of Saving Iceland against the dams at Kárahnjúkar, an unmarked 4×4 police car came driving towards the camp site and started photgraphing people having their lunch. A few of the protestors walked towards the car, including Sigurðsson. When he stepped in front of the stationary vehicle the driver of the car, Arinbjörn Snorrason, accelerated suddenly and drove into Sigurðsson, who saved his life by putting his hands on the bonnet of the car and jumping out of its way.
Armand: Brave Cops of Iceland Read More

Jan 07 2008

‘Concerning the Fundamental Values of Society’ by Miriam Rose


A talk which opened a panel discussion at the ‘Reykjavikur Akademia’ with the topic ‘What are the Fundamental Values of Society’ 20 November 2007. Panelists included Reykjavik Chief of Police Stefán Eiríksson, historian and Left Green MP Guðfríður Lilja Grétarsdóttir and philosopher Viðar Thorsteinsson.

For those of you who don’t already know me, my name is Miriam Rose, and I am an activist and environmental scientist from the UK. I have been asked to speak today on my experience of the basic values of Icelandic society, based on an interview I did on Kastljos in October, after I was threatened with deportation from Iceland for my part in actions against the heavy industry policy of your government. The letter of requested deportation which I received explained that I may be expelled from Iceland for a minimum of three years as my behavior constitutes a ‘threat to the fundamental values of society’.
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Dec 25 2007
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‘The Age of Aluminum’ by Mimi Sheller


Atilla Lerato Sheller

Activists Attilah Springer (left) and Lerato Maria
Maregele (center). SI conference July ’07.

Mimi Sheller is a visiting associate professor in the sociology and anthropology department at Swarthmore College. She attended the Saving Iceland conference in 2007.

I grew up in an aluminum-sided suburban house. I carried a colorful aluminum lunchbox to school, with a sandwich wrapped in aluminum foil. Like everyone I know, I drink from aluminum cans, travel in cars, planes, and bikes full of aluminum parts, and cook in aluminum pots and pans. This versatile, ubiquitous material is all around us, all the time, but seems almost invisible because it has become, literally, part of the furniture (even the kitchen sink). The surprising story of this mercurial metallic fabric of everyday life – in our homes, skyscrapers, cars, airplanes, utensils, fasteners, cosmetics, space ships, and bombs – encapsulates the making of global modernity, the creation of multinational corporations, the rise of the U.S. as a world power, the modernization of warfare, and the invention of suburbia, science-fiction futurism, and the American Dream.
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Dec 24 2007

Saving Iceland – The Annihilation of Europe’s Last Great Wilderness


stop ecocide

Interview with Siggi by Kristin Burnett
Strip Las Vegas Magazine
August 2007

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Oct 08 2007

Behind the Shining: Aluminum’s Dark Side


An IPS/SEEN/TNI report, 2001

This important and lengthy report from the Washington based Sustainable Energy and Economy Network is highly informative about the operational structure of the aluminum industry and the resulting impacts on human rights and the environment.

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Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Sep 07 2007

‘Glacial Rivers Reduce Pollution on Earth’ by Gudmundur Páll Ólafsson


Glacial rivers are not only the lifeblood of Iceland, but also of the whole planet.

River water contains sediment in suspension and various substances in solution; glacial rivers, especially, carry a large amount of sediment which increases as the atmosphere grows warmer.

River of Life

Rivers of Life

Glacial rivers carry the sediment out to sea, where it takes on a new and important role in binding the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) with calcium (Ca) and converting it into calcite and other carbonate minerals, immensely important in the ocean ecosystems of the world. Thus glacial rivers reduce pollution on Earth. This effect is greatest in recently formed volcanic territory such as Iceland, and the binding effect increases with rising atmospheric temperature.

Glacial rivers bind this gas which, along with some other gases, causes global warming and threatens the future of life of Earth.

When a glacial river is harnessed to generate electricity, this important function, and the binding of the greenhouse gas CO2, is diminished. What they generate is not GREEN ENERGY, as the advocates of hydro-power plants and heavy industry maintain, but BLACK ENERGY.

Dams and reservoirs hinder the function of glacial sediment in the oceans, and hence hydro-electric power plants that harness glacial rivers are far more harmful than has hitherto been believed. Read More

Sep 03 2007

Defending the Wild in the Land of Fire and Ice – Saving Iceland Takes Action


Jaap Krater
Earth First Journal
3 August, 2007

Summer of Resistance in Iceland – an overview

This year, Iceland saw its third Summer of direct action against heavy industry and large dams. In a much-disputed master plan, all the glacial rivers and geothermal potential of Europe’s largest wilderness would be harnessed for aluminum production (see EF!J May-June 2006). Activists from around the world have gathered to protect Europe’s largest remaining wilderness and oppose aluminum corporations.
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Sep 02 2007
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‘Aluminium Tyrants’ – The Ecologist


IcelandFTcartoonsml.jpgBy Jaap Krater, Miriam Rose and Mark Anslow, The Ecologist, October 2007.

The gates of a geothermal power station are not where you would expect to find environmental activists. But the morning of 26th July 2007 saw the access road to Hellisheidi power station in Hengill, South-West Iceland, blockaded by a group of protestors from the campaign group ‘Saving Iceland’. After a brief demonstration, nine activists were arrested and several now face legal action.

Geothermal power in Iceland is big business. Just five plants generate 3 TWh a year – more than the annual output from all the UK’s wind turbines combined (Orkustofnun 2005; BERR 2006). Geothermal power also provides at least 85 per cent of Iceland’s homes with heat and hot water. This abundance of cheap, largely CO2-free energy has attracted energy-hungry industries to the country like sharks to a carcass. Of these, by far the most energy intensive is the aluminium industry (Krater 2007; Saving Iceland 2007).
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