I came to Iceland because I thought this would be my only chance, as a student, to live in one of the most expensive places in the world.
Now that I've lived here for a few (okay, two) months and now I'm reading this book called Dreamland, which criticizes the environmental decisions the country has made.
While reading the book, I realize more and more that Iceland is not really that first-nation.
It is just beginning. It is just a little ahead of China and India in its race for industrialization.
Just one or two generations ago, there was still a lot of jobs that were in the sectors of fishing and farming (and still are). Then all of a sudden the country became industrialized and now people are pouring into the city (like they are all across the world) and driving huge SUVs. Just a few years ago, Iceland was one of the poorest nations in Europe.
Everything is so new here: They are like the suburbs of Southwestern Ontario. Everything was built in the 70's and up. Except I'm talking about the city and not the suburbs. Places like London, New York, even Toronto have had a history of at least a hundred years of merchants and trading and commerce. According to Wikipedia, about a hundred years ago, Reykjavik had a tiny population of 11,500. This is almost like Toronto in 1834.
Rome was not built in a day, although it was founded in 753 BC. China became a country in 221 BC. Iceland gained Independence in 1944. So it is almost as if this country had a sheen, a façade of being so rich and industrialized when that is not really true at all. It is geologically young, it is industrially young, it is young. It is still learning.