Giving back to one’s community has always been something of value to me. Creating a strong community requires everyone’s participation and passion. This was something I saw clearly when we visited Lake Mývatn in the Northern part of Iceland. During our trip, we had the opportunity to sight-see, and tour some of Iceland’s natural wonders. But my personal favorite part was staying with a local family at the Dimmuborgir Guesthouse, just meters from the lake. As visitors, we were infatuated by the beauty, our charming cabin, and the friendly dogs that wandered the property. But, it wasn’t only the scenery and atmosphere that were remarkable, we were welcomed in, and treated like family.
The night we stayed at their guesthouse, we attended a dinner with them and some of their immediate family. The family has strong beliefs and values that are focused on sustainability and protecting an area they adore. Before we ate, the owner of the establishment spoke to us about his actions, and how his guesthouse is where he promotes environmental sustainability. In his community, he has taken many actions to be involved on many levels. He mainly works to conduct localized research and inform the public about concerning topics. Because of the diversity of species, especially birds and fish, the aquatic system is very self-sufficient. He stated that this is an aspect people need to understand. When things like algae-blooms happen, it is best to not interfere.
His family has history with protecting the Lake Myvatn area. When his father was younger, he went to extreme levels to take down a nearby dam in order to protect the aquatic fish, birds, and plant life. The community is also a strong believer in protecting their lake. The average age of the municipality surrounding the Lake is only 30 years old. This signified that some of the children that grew up in that area, have returned back to implement positive change. This is a strong base, for a passionate and welcoming community. These people mostly all have similar mindsets and are working together for something they love.
I believe that this experience defines the concrete structure that forms a strong community. “It takes a village” is a common phrase we here all the time, but when it comes to protecting something one loves, this must be taken seriously. If we want to see change and action, there is no use in waiting for someone else to start it. We are all capable of taking action, especially if we are running it on passion.
Isabella Colello, Iceland Spring 2019