There are many challenges planet Earth faces today: waste, plastic, global warming and the destruction of nature, to mention a few. Many people dream about being able to help cure the environment. This summer, you will have an extraordinary chance to do so.
Action and ceremonies
The ecosocial festival “Athöfn” takes place in the south of Iceland from July 26th to 29th. The name means both action and ceremony, and that’s exactly what it is all about.
“The festival is about taking action for and celebrating life,” explains festival manager Mörður “Moli” G.Ott. “We are building up fertility in the land and charging up our spirits with systematic celebration of ourselves and our environment. We have access to plenty of materials that Icelandic society does not value, but with the skill gathered at this event we can create great things from them.”
The sands of the south
The festival will take place on the land of “Sandar Suðursins” (“Sands of the South”) that the country of Ölfus loaned to the Töfrastaðir association, which promotes permaculture and responsible living. It will help turn the 50,000 square meters of sand and lava fields into diverse forest.
“Among other things, the land contains a ceremonial space with sweat lodge, fire pits and area to be developed as ceremony holders see fit,” Moli says. “There’s also a great outdoor kitchen named the ‘Sandwitch’ which looks like a crashed spaceship, half in a sandy hill, and an outdoors ‘playground’ where we collect building materials which participants can use to build whatever their creative minds come up with.”
Doing it again, only better
Sandar Suðursins was also the venue for last year’s Nordic Permaculture Festival (NPF) which is held every year in the Nordic countries. It focuses on skillsharing based around permaculture. Athöfn will benefit from the lessons learned at the NPF.
“Our team experience was that we tried to set up too many things at once and simple solutions served us best,” Moli recalls. “At Athöfn we will work with what we have, turning the extensive materials that society disregards into examples of intellectual solutions that improve lives.”
Contributors are welcome
Athöfn will accept volunteers that will have specific tasks for half a day but anyone who wants to be part of the project is welcome in the month of July and early August. “The only condition is that people participate in some way towards what is happening,” Moli says. “Singing by the fire or helping building are equal to us as both create a better environment for life.”
A jack of many trades
Athöfn is an ambitious project that aims to show how much is possible with a little budget but a lot of knowledge. Moli describes himself a jack of many trades, as he has a little experience in many fields. He has also been legally disable since 2003, but he keeps his neurological problems under control with diet and spiritual exercise.
“I studied horticulture with focus on hydroponics at the gardening department of the agricultural university in Iceland,” the festival manger says. “There, I realized how far behind Iceland is in growing knowledge and connection to nature. I delved into permaculture and left the school to travel between countries to learn and experience.”
Creating environmental awareness
This summer will be the chance for anyone to create a better environment and increase the fertility of the land of Sandar Suðursins by using materials that society has thrown away, such as branches trimmed in homegardens, grass cuttings, compost from homes, transport pallets and more.
“We want to bring people to this land to experience and explore nature, helping them to find their connection to their natural environment and create environmental awareness,” Moli finishes. “We do this by sharing the knowledge and wisdom and gaining many times more from our guests and co-creators.”