This was a very cheerful protest and a total success. Most of the press and all TV stations turned up for the edifying spectacle. It coincided most conveniently with a news release from the Ministry of Industry about four spanking new aluminium smelters that are to be built or extended (ALCAN and Century) in the southwest and north (ALCOA) of Iceland, promising amongst other horrors, according to scientists to make the bay of Faxafloi the most heavily polluted area in Northern Europe. Arms manufacturers ALCOA are deliberating a smelter in Husavik in the north on top of the monster 360.000 tons smelter they are already building at Reydarfjordur in the East of Iceland, which Europe's last great untouched wilderness (Karahnjukar, north of Vatnajokull glacier) is to be sacrificed to generate bogus "green" electricity for.
Two of the activists who took part in the Hotel Nordica 'skyr' action at the International Aluminium Conference last summer, have recently been sentenced in municipal court to two months in prison suspended and a £6000 "cleaning up bill", fines and expences. According to the owners of Hotel Nordica it cost over £5000 to hire a carpet cleaner for two hours! The original claim of Hotel Nordica was £50.000.
Boycot Hotel Nordica and their owners, Icelandair!
Why this conference?
* It was a conference for aluminium and the related industry leaders from all over the world.
* They were here because they think Iceland is right for heavy industrial development. Ironically, this is down to its clean environmental record.
* The people gathered there were key decision makers, financiers and policy drivers behind the Karahnjukar project and other heavy industry developments across Iceland which we oppose.
* A session entitled "An Approach to Sustainability for a Greenfield Aluminium Smelter" started at 11:45 on the day. Hosted by Joe Wahba of Bechtel Corporation and T.M. Sigurdsson of Alcoa, the outrageous hypocrisy of the seminar was extremely provocative to those who truly aspire to the ecological value of sustainability.
Why green skyr?
* Green because "greenwash" is a term commonly used to describe corporations shallow attempts to present themselves as "environmentally friendly" or "sustainable.”
* Skyr because it is an organic substance, washable, and therefore not intended to cause injury or irreversible damage.
What was our intent?
* To disrupt the conference and in particular the "sustainability" seminar.
* To send a clear message directly to heavy industry leaders that Iceland is not such a cozy nest for them.
* To inspire others to take action against the corporate/ government conspiracy to defraud Icelanders of much of their amazing natural heritage.
Did we get paid?
* No. We are motivated by love and anger - love for the natural world and anger at those who seek to destroy it for short term personal and shareholder profit and the pursuit of power.
How was it organised and by whom?
* We worked together, without leadership, and through a process of consensus.
* We bear equal responsibility for our actions, the decisions that led to them, and their consequences.
Did we intend to damage property?
* No. Our intentions were simply as stated above. Any damage to equipment was unintended and incidental.
* However it is a horrible irony that many of these delegates make business decisions which cause enormous and irreversible damage to the planet which belongs to all of us and yet they are not held accountable morally, legally or financially - and especially not individually. What are designer suits next to the largest remaining wilderness in Western Europe.
Arna Ösp Magnúsardóttir
Ólafur Páll Sigurðsson
Sheffield 21-22nd January 2006
Matilda Social Centre, Matilda Street Sheffield
Weekend gathering reporting back from the campaign to stop the Icelandic government and Alcoa destroying Europe's largest remaining pristine wilderness for aluminium smelters.
Workshops,films, plotting and presentations to prepare others interested in supporting the campaign in the lead up to the international gathering in Iceland in summer 2006.
Come along, get involved! It has already started. The Karahnjukar dam is under way....but it can be stopped!
Gathering programme to be announced. Fri eve to Sunday midday with catering co-ordinated by the lovely Matilda Cafe Collective.
For more info on the campaign see http://www.savingiceland.org