Iceland Program Director Shares Facts About the Country

Professor of History Michael Novak shared some facts about Iceland in advance of the Meredith study abroad program's departure.

Iceland is:
•The size of South Carolina with the population of Wake County. Its capital, Reykjavik, is the northernmost in the world.
•Like Hawaii, it was born from volcanic eruptions, because it lies exactly where the North American and Eurasian continental plates are slowly separating, which allows hotter materials from the earth’s mantle to reach the surface as hot springs, geysers, and, occasionally, volcanoes.
•Its people have been there since the late 800s, and their elected governing assembly, the Althingi, established in 930CE, is still in operation.
•When the UN last gathered statistics in 2008, it was judged to be the world’s most satisfied population, given that, among other things, almost no one emigrates, even though almost all of them travel abroad.
•With only 1% of the land arable (the rest is rock), the people have survived on fish and sheep for most of their 1000+ years.
•Icelanders heat and provide hot water for their whole population with geothermal and hydroelectric energy, producing a carbon footprint of nearly zero.

Date Submitted: 2010-05-27

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Melyssa Allen
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