Icelandic Government to Research Gender Distribution of Unpaid Work

ungbarnasund baby swimming

While research suggests that women do much more unpaid work in Iceland than men, concrete data on the issue is lacking. Last Friday, the Icelandic government approved Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir’s proposal to conduct a study on what is often called the “second shift” or “third shift;” unpaid housework and caretaking work; and its distribution between genders in Iceland. The results will be used to shape government policy.

“In neighbouring countries, time use studies have been carried out that have been used in policy making, and an Icelandic study on this topic could give clear and easily understandable results and manage to capture the gendered reality in a different way than has previously been done,” a government notice states. The study will be carried out in collaboration with Statistics Iceland.

Majority of Icelandic State’s shift workers are women

The Icelandic government recently published its third report on mapping gender perspectives, a joint ministry initiative that maps gender perspectives in relation to government work as well as presents proposals for action. The report’s findings include that women make up the vast majority of shift workers employed by the state. These female shift workers are much more likely to work part-time than other women employed by the state.

Women in Iceland are also much more likely to be granted disability status due to musculoskeletal disorders than men. The rates of musculoskeletal disorders have decreased among both women and men, however, in recent years.

The government has also approved a proposal that each ministry define at least one specific gender equality goal for the 2024-2028 budget and work systematically towards it, with defined actions in the budget proposal.

Reykjavík Hosts Cryosphere Symposium on Climate Change

Vatnajökull Grímsfjall Grímsvötn Bárðarbunga Kverkfjöll Jöklar Jökull Vísindi

The 2022 Cryosphere Symposium will take over Reykjavík’s Harpa this week with lectures and events on ice, snow, and water in a warming world. Organised and funded by the Icelandic Met Office, the World Meteorological Organization, the UN, and other partners, the conference also features events open to the public. The symposium intends to highlight rapid changes occurring in all components of the Earth’s cryosphere, the portions of the Earth’s surface where water is in frozen form.

The symposium will include presentations on the latest scientific results on changes occurring in the cryosphere all over the planet as well as new technologies. Besides lectures, there will also be panel discussions and events open to the public. Tonight at Bryggjan Brewery, four specialists will share experiences from the field and give the audience insight into glaciological work. The presentations, which are open to all, will be in English, and attendees are invited to ask questions in a relaxed atmosphere.

The conference’s full program is available on the Cryosphere website.

Released from Custody Following North Iceland Shooting

Blönduós

Two people have been released from custody following a shooting in North Iceland yesterday morning. Northeast Iceland Police announced their release following questioning and stated that they would not issue a warrant for arrest. Two people are dead, and one is seriously injured following the incident, which sent shockwaves through the small community of Blönduós.

On Sunday morning around 5:30 AM, police were notified that a firearm had been discharged in a home in Blönduós. According to RÚV, the alleged shooter entered a home, where he shot its residents, a man and woman. The woman was killed and the man seriously injured. Police found the shooter dead at the scene.

Alleged shooter a former employee of one victim

RÚV’s sources stated that the couple’s son was in his room at the time along with his girlfriend and that he attacked the alleged shooter and was later arrested. He has now been released and no warrant for his arrest will be issued. Police stated that there was no suspicion of a firearm being used on the attacker and no suspicion that the attacker had taken his own life.

The alleged shooter is a former employee of the man who was seriously injured and has reportedly struggled with mental illness. Police had previously been in contact with him due to threats with a firearm and had confiscated a firearm from him. The alleged shooter held a gun licence.

Residents offered trauma support

A town hall meeting was held for Blönduós residents yesterday evening, as well as a support gathering at Blönduós Church. The Icelandic Red Cross has sent around eight staff members to the town to provide trauma support. Guðmundur Haukur Jakobsson, speaker of the municipal council of Húnabyggð, has called on the nation to stand with the area’s residents in this difficult time.

“The residents of the area are devastated, and we are still processing the fact that this really happened,” Guðmundur stated, reading from a statement written by the council on behalf of residents. “The thoughts of all Húnabyggð residents are with the deceased, those involved, and the relatives of those connected to this terrible event. The community is in some sort of shock, and everyone is trying to come to grips with these events and the emotions that come along with them. In a small community like ours, everyone is an acquaintance, friend, and/or relative, and an event like this wounds the community deeply.”

What do I need to know before visiting the eruption site at Meradalir?

iceland eruption 2022

Update: Eruption Potentially Over

As of August 22, signs seem to indicate that the Meradalir eruption has come to an end, although the Meteorological Office of Iceland is hesitant to make an official statement as of yet. Lava flow at the site has been declining steadily since the initial eruption, and at the time of writing, there is no visible activity at the site. An official statement from the Volcanology and Natural Hazard Group of the University of Iceland was released on August 20, which can be seen below. Even for geologists, precisely predicting the activity of a volcanic system is very difficult, especially over small timespans. Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Meradalir eruption here. 

Before setting out

As always in Iceland, taking the proper gear is key to having a good hike. Sturdy boots, rain- and windproof layers, water, and food are all must-haves when setting out to visit the eruption. Those setting out later in the day will also want to take a flashlight or head lamp.

The eruption can be safely viewed but as always with such phenomena, there are inherent risks. Besides the lava itself, volcanic gas can pose a danger to hikers, especially on calm, windless days. Hikers are asked to not bring small children or animals because of these conditions. Updates on the wind patterns near the eruption site can be found at the Meteorological Office of Iceland’s website.

In addition to the volcanic gas, the weather can also play an important role, and the site may be closed in inclement weather conditions. For the most up to date information, see the Facebook page or website for the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management.

meradalir eruption 2022
Veðurstofa Íslands, current as of 8. 08, 11:00

Before setting out, it is also important to note that not all are allowed to visit the site. As of August 9, children under the age of 12 are banned from the site, due to the challenging nature of the hike and additional hazards posed by the gases to the young.

Parking

The parking for the Meradalir eruption is the same as last year’s. Those driving from Reykjavík can take Route 41 towards Keflavík, then 43 south towards Grindavík. From there, it is only several kilometers along 427 until the parking lot, shown in the map below. Visitors to the site should note that parking is not free. As of the time of writing, parking is a modest ISK 1,000 through the parking app parka.is, but those who skip the fee can expect higher charges.

The hike to the eruption

The hike is a round trip of 14km, about 2 hours of hiking each way. Notably, the walk is longer and more difficult than the hike to last year’s eruption site, so hikers will want to prepare accordingly.  The trek is over difficult terrain and you may want to take pictures, so we recommend accounting for around 5 hours total walking. The current route begins with Route A from last year’s eruption, but then branches off at Stórhól, where hikers then follow the trail to an overview of the eruption. Search and Rescue teams have been improving the trail, and as of August 4, the signage reflects the path to the new eruption site.

Hikers are asked to keep to the path, both to protect nature, and also because the trail can be hazardous. Several hikers have already been evacuated by Search and Rescue for minor injuries sustained during the hike.

meradalir eruption 2022
Björgunarsveitin Þorbjörn

At the eruption

When at the eruption site, safety is key. As stated, volcanic gases can pose a danger to visitors, so staying high on the slopes can be a good idea. This is also a great vantage point to view the eruption from.

Those wanting a closer view of the eruption can walk down into the valley, but should exercise extra caution around the lava. It is not advisable to touch the lava, even if it looks cool, and under no circumstances should visitors walk on the fresh lava. 

Search and Rescue teams are on site and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Should the situation change, listen to any instructions they may have for visitors.

Live webcams

For those unable to make the hike, or else just looking for the most current conditions at the eruption site, there are several live webcams of the Meradalir eruption. RÚV’s live webcam can be found below:

Meradalir Eruption Likely Over

Meradalir eruption, August 2022

The Icelandic Met Office is not ready to pronounce the Meradalir eruption officially over, but the dwindling volcanic tremor finally came to a stop at the site on Saturday night. There is no longer visible lava flow from the main crater, and while there is still some activity in the main vent, it is likely already closed.

“The activity at the Meradalir vents and the associated tremor has been dwindling gradually over the last three days, to such a degree that at this moment no fountaining is visible at the vents and the tremor is almost non-existent,” the Volcanology and Natural Hazard Group of the University of Iceland wrote on their Facebook page on Saturday afternoon. “However, there is still steady venting of magmatic gases. This trend in the eruptive behavior is very different from that observed at the end of individual eruption episodes in the 2021 eruption, which were terminated very abruptly. Hence, it is likely that this rather slow and gradual decline in activity is signifying the demise [of] the 2022 Meradalir eruption.”

Disappointment for some, relief for others

The Meradalir eruption began on August 3 around 1:18 pm, not far from last year’s Geldingadalir eruption, on Southwest Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula. By August 13, lava flow had decreased significantly around 10 days later to about one third of the original rate. Now all volcanic tremor has ceased, and the main vent appears to be closed. In order to formally declare the eruption over, however, there must be no activity at the site for several days or weeks.

While some who had not had a chance to see the eruption yet may be disappointed, residents of the Reykjanes peninsula are likely relieved the lava flow was contained to Meradalir valley, where it did not threaten nearby roads or energy infrastructure. Search and rescue crews who had been monitoring the site and its tens of thousands of visitors are also likely looking forward to some time off.

Volcanologists and geologists have stated that the Meradalir and Geldingadalir eruptions mark the beginning of a new active volcanic period on the Reykjanes peninsula that could last decades or even centuries.

Sail from Sweden to Iceland to Mark 250th Anniversary of Scientific Expedition

Solander 250 Embassy of Sweden in Reykjavík

The year 2022 marks 250 years since the Swedish botanist Daniel Solander made a scientific expedition to Iceland. To commemorate the expedition, the Embassy of Sweden has collaborated with Icelandic partners to organise a sailing trip, an art exhibition, workshops, nature walks, and other projects that will be held at over 30 locations across Iceland over the next one and a half years.

“Together Iceland and Sweden continue a dialogue on history, biology, geology, anthropology and culture which has spanned over many centuries. The project deals with our common past, present and future,” Sweden’s Ambassador to Iceland Pär Ahlberger told Iceland Review. “I am very grateful to the Government of Iceland and our more than 30 Icelandic partners for the very generous support to this, the most comprehensive Swedish – Icelandic project ever.”

Daniel Solander (1733-1782) was a Swedish naturalist who studied under celebrated professor of botany Carl Linnaeus. He travelled as far as Australia and New Zealand for scientific expeditions, where he helped make and describe collections of plants from various regions.

Solander visited Iceland in 1772. A travelogue from the expedition, Letters on Iceland, first published in 1777, is available in full on the Icelandic National Library website.

Icelandic artists interpret Solander’s expedition

One of the cornerstones of the commemorative project is the art exhibition Solander 250: Bréf frá Íslandi (e. Solander 250: Letters from Iceland), which features the work of ten Icelandic artists who contribute with their perspectives of Daniel Solander’s expedition to Iceland. The exhibition opens in Hafnarborg gallery in the town of Hafnarfjörður on August 27, but will travel to nine other locations in Iceland over the coming 18 months.

The exhibition Paradise Lost – Daniel Solander’s Legacy, first exhibited in New Zealand and Australia in 2019-2021 and focusing on the first encounter between Sweden and the Pacific Region, will be shown across Iceland alongside Bréf frá Íslandi.

Other events that will be part of the commemorative project include musical performances and educational events.