How Iceland became Green

By Grace Helmke

In an era of revolution and emerging awareness on all spectrums, environmental change, and the impact of humanity on planet earth, is a topic well discussed. But even with numerous papers published, research documented, and proof being given to confirm our planet’s great need for the development of environment friendly living, most of the world has yet to act upon this issue.

However, some countries have taken great strides in this mission; sustainability becoming their way of life. Iceland has been unofficially dubbed “poster child” of Nationwide sustainability, finding greener ways of life, and producing more renewable energy than anywhere else in the world. 

Iceland can thank their incredible geological features for allowing them access to plentiful hydro and geothermal resources. These natural assets account for over 85% of Iceland’s energy supply, and 100% of their electricity production.

When compared to the United States, this feat seems far more impressive. Our nation’s renewable energy production only makes up 11% of our supply, and 17% of electricity generated. This is such a significant achievement for Iceland because of the incredible good it can do for our planet. Generating energy from fossil fuels furthers air pollution and global warming. This contributes to eustatic change, intensified natural disasters, and temperature rise. 

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Not only is Iceland a leader in renewable energy, but they have taken steps in educating their nation’s children on climate change, and the effects we have on our environment. Sustainability is one of the national requirements in the Icelandic education system. Students are taught what global warming is, and that it will continue to happen if nothing is done to change it.

This is in comparison to The United States’ system, where the teaching of climate change is optional, and largely not discussed for an extended period of time. 

Plastics are also a major concern when it comes to the environment. But starting in the summer of 2021, all single use plastics are being banned in Iceland. This includes: straws, cutlery, bags, and dishes. The only exception will be single use plastics required for medical reasons. All products sold in restaurants and fast food chains will now be reusable or biodegradable, including cutlery and packaging. 

Iceland has taken major steps in healing our environment for future generations. They lead all nations in renewable energy production, and have implemented changes to provide a better environmental education, and a tighter restriction on eco-friendly products. There’s no doubt there are more changes on the way, as other countries join Iceland in pursuit of a greener way of life. 

For more information, and more statistics on Iceland please visit:

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