Collapse- Iceland

How do societies collaspe?

Thesis

The cause of Iceland demise and future collapse will be caused their environmental issues, short growing season and their dependence on the fishing industry and metals.
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3 Reasons

Environmental Issues

Iceland’s biggest problems are its issues with the environment. Iceland’s soil is much more fragile than the soils of other northern European countries. When Norse settlers came to Iceland in the late 800’s, they decimated the soil by chopping down all of the trees and overgrazing the land. This left the earth bare, and the strong winds quickly eroded the light topsoil. This made it much harder to grow crops and use the land.Much of Iceland still suffers from this problem today. Iceland also struggles with deforestation. At one point, over 25% of Iceland was covered with forests, but now that number has shrunk to less than 1%. This resource was previously valuable to Iceland, but it has now been used up.

Growing Season

Another problem that Iceland has is a very short growing season. This growing season has always been a limiting factor for Iceland. Without a long season, many crops that are grown in other climates are not able to survive in Iceland. This means that Iceland must receive most of their plant based foods, including basic necessities such as wheat and other grains, from trade. Because of this much of the Icelanders diet consists of locally sourced foods, especially fish and other seafood. Iceland relies on the sea for their own food as well as for trade, so if overfishing occurs, it will affect Iceland tremendously. Another result of the lack of crops is that Iceland will be more motivated for peace since it relies on trade with other nations.


Economic

Iceland’s future collapse may be caused by their dependency on the fishing industry and metals. Iceland's economy is dependent on the fishing industry and the collection of metals. Iceland's top export is a metal, aluminum. 37% of all of Iceland exports is aluminum. The problem is that aluminum is not a renewable source, so it can run out. When an economy relies so much on one metal that is not replenishing itself, the amount of that metal will decrease and cause the economy to collapse. Also, the Icelandic people rely on the fishing industry to keep their economy going. Fish and meat product are responsible for about 28% of Iceland's economy. 15% of the exports are fish and meat, 7% is frozen fish without the filet, and fish flours,meals, and pellets is 6%. The problem with being so dependent on the fishing industry is that its unpredictable. If something happens to the environment and some of fish go away, Iceland will have a poor fishing season. If Iceland has a poor fishing season, then their economy will suffer. Aluminum and fish products make up 65% of Iceland's economy. If Iceland wants to avoid collapse they will have to find new industries that are more reliable, like manufacturing.

By: James Frerye and Ethan Lindberg

Citations

Diamond, Jared M. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Viking, 2005. Print.

Gumbel, Peter. "Iceland: The Country That Became a Hedge Fund." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 4 Dec. 2008. Web. 03 Mar. 2014.

Stone, Bill. "Second World War Books: History Page." Second World War Books: History Page. Stonebooks, n.d. Web. 02 Mar. 2014.

"Trade in Iceland." Atlas.media.mit.edu. Wall Street Journal, 4 Jan. 2014. Web. 3 Mar. 2014.

Boardman, John, and Jean Poesen. "Soil Erosion in Europe: Major Processes, Causes and Consequences." Soil Erosion in Europe. Chichester, England: Wiley, 2006. 472-73. Print.

Diamond, Jared M. "Chapter 6: The Viking Prelude and Fugues." Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York: Viking, 2005. 198-205. Print.

"Iceland Profile." BBC News. BBC News, 23 May 2013. Web. 04 Mar. 2014.