Snow joke: Icelandic Glacier makes presidential bid

May 24, 2024 | News

The campaign to place Snaefellsjokull in the ballot, although ultimately unsuccessful, has raised awareness about environmental stewardship

Iceland may have the solution to cool down heated political debates: activists have been attempting to secure a seat at the top for one of their most famous glaciers. They have proposed that it be made president.

Snaefellsjokull, a volcano with a glacier cap in western Iceland, is an active volcano. It is estimated to be 700,000 years in age, but campaigners claim that the current rate of melt could cause it to disappear within the next 50 years.

They wanted to include Snaefellsjokull glacier on the ballot in order to bring the climate crisis to the forefront of the 1 June presidential election in Iceland. Activists behind the candidacy bid claim that although they failed to gather enough signatures to support the nomination, it’s only the beginning.

Cody Skahan, a member of the campaign, told Positive News: “It is definitely something serious we are doing. It’s not a stunt.” “We have carefully considered how the glacier could fulfill its presidential duties.

“This first campaign was a matter of getting momentum, gauging interest, and getting people accustomed to the idea. In the next election, we will have a much greater traction and momentum.”

Snaefellsjokull checks all the boxes on paper: an Icelandic President must be at least 35 and have no criminal record. The glacier is a symbol of stability and endurance in the face hardship and challenge for millennia.

Snaefellsjokull checks all the boxes on paper: a president of Iceland must be at least 35 and have no criminal record

Angela Rawlings, a campaign manager and artist (pictured below), had the idea to make it president over a decade before. Its origins are in the global Rights of Nature Movement, which aims at giving rivers, oceans, and mountains the same rights as humans.

The campaign collective planned on establishing a council of expert to represent Snaefellsjokull if it were to become president. This would include climate scientists, glaciologists, and artists.

Skahan explained that the president could use his veto to veto any bill or law proposal which would significantly increase carbon emissions or undermine the ecosystem of the region.

Angela Rawlings changed the middle name of her daughter to the name of the glacier so that it would appear on the list. Image: Snaefellsjokul fyrir forseta

The reaction to the nomination was mixed. Support was divided along generational lines. The younger generation was generally more supportive, while the older generation reacted with coldness.

Daniela Amado is another member of the collective. She said that many Icelanders are in favor. “Others, particularly older people, view it as a joke.” They obtained 300 of the required 1,500 signatures to be included on the ballot. Snaefellsjokull, therefore, will have to wait another four years to get a second chance.

Skahan added that the campaign was playful, creative and humorous. “But we are still serious about content and the goals we wish to achieve.”

Main Image: Snaefellsjokul, west Iceland, photographed by Thomas Richards/iStock

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