We’re covered in ash. Isolated by it.
Norwegians had forgotten how it felt to be an outpost. Now we remember.
No more Tanzanian roses for Oslo. No more Norwegian salmon for Japan.
Are we at the risk of losing coffee, sugar, bananas, rice –things we have come to consider as crucial in our daily lives? Not to mention the decreased demand for oil that equals decreased prices and a giant income loss for oil-producing Norway.
We stood tall through the financial crisis. Will the ash be what pulls us down?
It is worth asking (ashing?) what a flight-free weekend in Europe meant in environmental terms. Perhaps we should take this opportunity to think of alternative means of transportation? Businesses and government agencies have been forced to host video conferences instead of flying in negotiators. If this is a possibility today, why can’t it also be something to consider when the ash disappears? Perhaps this was nature’s way of telling us to find new solutions? It will be interesting to see whether the pollution from the volcano was less than the pollution it prevented because of grounded planes.
In the end, though, the immediate feeling is inconvenience. There is nothing we can do. Turning off a volcano is harder than you’d think.
It is tempting to say with the Britons: “Damn you Iceland, we said cash, not ash!”
*The English word “ash” sounds suspiciously similar to the Norwegian “æsj”. Which can mean anything from “eugh” or “yuck” to “damn” or “shoot!”. At the moment I am not so concerned with the ash, but more with my own personal æsj. I have a cold which is keeping me from doing anything sensible. To top that, I am at home with two computers – one which cannot connect to the Internet, the other which refuses to connect with its own keyboard. I challenge you to figure out how I was able to post this…