Big in Reykjavik
October 6, 2013
The Earth 101 event has drawn to a close in Reykjavik, and by all accounts my presentations have been well received. Turns out there’s a lively subculture of climate crock viewers here,, including conference organizer Gudni Elisson.
It’s been a great opportunity for me to not only interact with some of the smartest, most well informed scientists in the climate field, but experience a city and a point of view that is unique.
Reykjavik is a bracing mix of cosmopolitan and small town ambience, (smaller than Grand Rapids Michigan) rich in Viking history, but also with tremendous prospects for future changes, as a major sea gateway to the rapidly opening arctic trade routes.
The major thrust has been to get a relatively small, intimate group of scientists, filmmakers and story tellers together to think about ways to better communicate the defining story of our moment in time.
As part of the buildup, sociologist Kari Norgaard and I did interviews with Iceland’s equivalent of NPR.
Iceland is a study in contradictions. It produces all or most of its electricity from renewable geo-thermal and wind energy, yet, due to the need for important carbon intensive manufactured goods and food stuffs, the per capita carbon footprint is one of the highest in the world.
Despite a cultural reverence for the land and appreciation of the unique geographical location, and, at least according to polls, a high awareness of global climate change, there is a willingness to exploit newly discovered offshore oil reserves. Sociologist Kerry Norgard addressed this kind of denial in her presentation here. The overt climate denial that still exists tends to be of a fairly virulent variety.
I know. Norwegian film, but Trolls are big on the agenda here as well.
Arctic photographer Phil Coates and I have struck up a warm friendship, and since we’re both staying on a couple of extra days, we’ll be taking a field trip on monday to get a better look at Iceland’s landscape and renewable energy resources.
I’ll have more on the conference and its participants in coming days, but if the past week is any indication, this may not be my last trip here.