Welcome to Iceland
Throw on an extra layer.. the average temperature here is 40 Fahrenheit. In 6 stunning stops you’ll discover the beauty of and diversity of this magnificent island that still remains 80% uninhabited. Soak it all up now as by this time next year, the sites you'll see will have changed forever as our planet continues to heat up.
Combatting climate change that is causing these drastic alterations to Iceland's glaciers & natural beauty can often seem daunting or unachievable. However it's not. By going on this virtual trip you have already started combatting climate change. Thank you for taking the time this Earth day, to discover our amazing planet, virtually.
After you enjoy the sights, keep scrolling down to discover 4 other simple actions you can implement into your day to positively impact climate change, brought to you by your holiday partners, The Nature Conservancy.
“For two weeks, we explored Iceland with our cameras in tow, on a mission to document some of the wildest landscapes on Earth. We ran across active volcanoes, swam in hidden hot springs, and crawled through glacier caves so narrow we had to leave our backpacks behind. We wrote about our travels, shot thousands of photos, and nearly lost one of our drones to a surprise hailstorm and strong winds. We dealt with heavy rain and snow most days, but the clouds always seemed to clear up for just a few minutes in the most special places.We strive to work with partners whose priorities align with our own, and believe that exposure through exploration is an important part of educating future generations on the impacts of climate change on our planet."
Colin & Christian
Just outside the southern village of Vík í Mýrdal lies one of the most stunning non-tropical beaches on Planet Earth. Reynisfjara is neatly nestled as a set of coves, protected by a fortress of geometric basalt columns, and features a shoreline full of polished black pebbles. Formed long ago when boiling lava oozed from a nearby volcano, the jagged volcanic rock was hardened by the cold ocean current and polished over time by lapping waves. Out toward the horizon, a set of sharp spires pierce the surface of the water — Icelandic legend says that these monuments formed when mischievous trolls hauled a three-masted ship out to sea before becoming petrified as the sun rose.
Covering 8% of Iceland’s land mass, Vatnajökull is not only Iceland’s largest glacier, but the largest in Europe.
It’s also the continent’s largest National Park, forming in 2008 when two existing parks (Skaftafell in the south and Jökulsárgljúfur in the north, as well as several nature reserves) were integrated to become Vatnajökull National Park. The glacier’s maximum volume was recorded in 1930, and has been in decline ever since, losing an average of 15 meters of thickness over the past 15 years as a result of rising global temperatures.
At this rate, the glacier could be completely lost within the next few lifetimes, leaving nothing but small,ice caps on its tallest peaks.
Breiðamerkursandur is a glacial outwash plain in southeast Iceland, fed by the enormous Vatnajökull glacier to the north. A constant stream of giant ice blocks calve off of the glacier and float down Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and out to sea, before washing back up on Breiðamerkursandur (or Diamond Beach), where they contrast beautifully with the fine black sand beneath them. These icebergs are gradually eroded by the Atlantic tides to create sculptures of all shapes and sizes, and have caused the beach to become one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations. As the ice melts and new chunks are washed ashore,the beach can transform completely from one day to the next.
The Mývatn district lies on the western border of Iceland’s Northern Volcanic Zone, which is an extension
of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. Earmarked primarily by an expansive geothermal lake, the region was created about 2300 years ago by a large fissure eruption that flooded the area with basaltic lava. The unusually shallow Lake Mývatn supports a wealth of waterfowl and rare plants due to rich sources of energy and nutrition. Subglacial eruptions during recent Ice Ages are responsible for most of the geological formations nearby, which take the shape of table mountains, palagonite ridges, and an assortment of caves and natural hot springs.
Iceland’s combination of high mountains, large glaciers, and a North Atlantic climate with thaw/freeze cycles and abundant precipitation has created more than 10,000 waterfalls, perhaps none more spectacular than the horseshoe shaped Goðafoss (or Waterfall of the Gods). The falls are fed by the river Skjálfandafljót, which runs through a 7,000 year old lava field from the Trölladyngja volcano before dropping from a height of 17 meters. Legend says that in the year 1000, a Viking politician named Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði declared Christianity the official religion of Iceland, proving his devotion by throwing statues of Norse pagan gods from the top of the roaring falls.
After 6,342 years of dormancy, the Fagradalsfjall volcano in southwest Iceland erupted for most of 2021.
Located on the Reykjanes Peninsula just 40 kilometers from Reykjavik, lava fountains from the volcano
could be seen clearly from Iceland’s capital city, but posed no threat to its residents. The self-contained
lava flows at Fagradalsfjall gave the public an amazing opportunity to study the tectonic forces pulling
Iceland apart, and an up-close look at the youngest land on Earth being forged before their eyes.
The eruption has proven to be unique among the volcanoes monitored in Iceland so far, and is
expected to develop into a shield volcano in the future.
Continue to travel virtually - here are some more carbon-free holidays you can set off on. Or perhaps try a staycation, it’s no secret that travel is one of the biggest contributors to global emissions, and you can Enjoy & Protect Nature Without Leaving Your Home!
Talk about climate change.
According to TNC’s chief scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, one of the most impactful ways you can combat climate change is by talking about it (Ted.com -The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Fight Climate Change: Talk About It). The Nature Conservancy has many resources including The Biodiversity Action Guide and the Let’s Talk Climate guide to help you conduct a conversation about climate change in your own community.
Use the dishwasher
Rethink your cleaning routine. According to a study conducted by SGS North America, Inc. running the dishwasher instead of handwashing can save up to 20 gallons of water per dishwashing cycle. Also, according to the American Cleaning Institute’s 2019 sustainability report, selecting the lowesttemperature setting on your washing machine is critical to reducing emissions.
Avoid geo-tagging on social media
While you’re sharing your adventures online, check out this article from Cool Green Science for How to Use Social Media Without Harming Nature. For example, avoid geotagging photos of places and animals so no one ‘grammablelocation is swarmed by tourists and poachers can’t use your spectacular wildlife shots to target prey.
30% of waste can be composted
Compost at home. It’s easier than you think! According to the EPA, “food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 30 percent of what we throw away... [m]aking compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas” (EPA). Make your own compost pile in the backyard or reserve a little space in the freezer to collect compost scraps and eliminate smells or pests until you can deliver scraps to a local compost center. (nature.org -In The Dirt Beneath Our Feet).
The Nature Conservancy
Founded in the U.S. through grassroots action in 1951, The Nature Conservancy(TNC)has grown to become one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than a million members and the dedicated efforts ofadiverse staff and over 400 scientists,TNC impacts conservation in 76 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners.