By Stanley Turner
In September 2019 I was blessed with the opportunity to take part in a freshman class trip to Iceland. We traveled far and wide to places like Reykjavik, Hvolsvöllur, and the Westman Islands and saw many natural wonders such as mountains, canyons, waterfalls, volcanoes, and so much more.
At every turn, I was astounded by the beauty of the Icelandic landscape. The lush green of the grass and moss, the black of the volcanic ash, the tall and momentous mountains, and the clear, ever-winding rivers. All these things blend together perfectly to make Iceland the gorgeous country it is.
However, I feel the need to mention that, despite the beauty of the land, Iceland faces a great struggle with maintaining its natural features. Iceland’s environment faces the grueling threats of pollution, climate change, and global warming.
A great example of this is the fading of Iceland’s glaciers. On our third day in Iceland, my class layered up, strapped on our crampons - shoes made for walking on ice - and made our way to a guided tour of the Sólheimajökull glacier.
After a long and steep climb, I looked down from atop this glacier and saw its full beauty and magnitude as well as the lagoon it met at its base. Although a beautiful sight, I was stunned to learn that the glacier had once completely covered the lagoon at its base and had since melted more than a football field’s length in mere years. Global warming has been chipping away at Sólheimajökull for years now and while the glacier is still beautiful now, who knows what the long-term effect of global warming will be on this glacier, or Iceland as a whole?
If we do nothing, what will become of this beautiful land? If we are to protect and preserve the environment, we must take action right away. While the melting of the Sólheimajökull glacier is a perfect example of environmental decay in Iceland, let’s broaden our scope beyond Iceland. Around the world, the natural features of the Earth we love and need are disappearing.
We as a people must take action to stop this.
My freshman trip to Iceland really opened my eyes to the beauty of the world we’re at risk of losing. I am now deeply invested in the preservation of the environment and I hope that after reading this, you feel the same way.
Stanley Turner is a freshman at Alcuin School and special contributor.