November 29, 2022

Iceland in Today’s World Perspective

I often think that we are so well sheltered from the outside world here in Iceland, and that gives you a feeling of security. I believe that most Icelanders share this sentiment. However, when things are viewed in a larger context, a lot more things become clear.

Today I heard that a methane cloud, caused by terrorist attacks on gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, is going to pass over Iceland soon (the story is in Icelandic, but you can easily translate it using Google Translate). Radioactivity from Chernobyl was once observed in Iceland as well, albeit it wasn’t at a harmful level at the time. This demonstrates, however, that events in Europe might easily impact us here in the midst of the Atlantic.

Icelandic society is modest in comparison to that of most other nations. This indicates that the market is small and that certain multinational corporations might not be interested in it. Due to COVID-19 and the situation in Ukraine, there has been a reported shortage of pharmaceuticals, particularly children’s medications. Since our market is tiny, several drug manufacturers choose not to spend the money necessary to translate instructions for use in Iceland into English or to obtain a license for their products. This can be challenging, and although everything worked out in the end, I have personally experienced a circumstance when the drug I urgently needed wasn’t available at a certain moment.

We are thinking of the residents of Florida today as they recover from Hurricane Ian’s devastation. When one views images of the calamity, they are rendered speechless by its tremendous extent. Icelanders are accustomed to storms and a variety of weather-related catastrophes, from dramatic volcanic eruptions to snow and mud floods. We have survived in our nation despite the worst that could happen, just as the people of the state of Florida will now. This is where we dwell and the planet we inhabit. Even though it is not always sunny and tranquil, it is still good.

We have attached a photo from Akureyri, taken in new baths that use hot water from tunnels that were built a few years ago. It is a good illustration of how we handle unforeseen circumstances that arise from nature.