Beloved Icelandic journalist, author and environmentalist Ómar Ragnarsson turned 70 years old yesterday, and the Minister for the Environment had a surprise in store for him.
Minister for the Environment Svandís Svavarsdóttir and Ómar were guests on radio station Rás 2 yesterday. During a live broadcast, the minister announced her wish to make 16 September “Icelandic Nature Day”, in honor of Ómar and the work he has put into the cause of environmentalism.
According to RÚV, the idea itself had its roots in the Icelandic people, as numerous callers to the radio station told co-host of afternoon broadcasts Guðfinnur Sigurvinsson that they wanted Ómar’s birthday to honor him in some way, with many calling for a day dedicated to Iceland’s nature. Guðfinnur, in turn, passed the idea on to Svandís, who readily agreed.
When the idea was announced live on the radio, Ómar was rendered speechless, as you can see from this priceless photo.
Ómar has long been a passionate advocate for the environment. In an interview he gave the Grapevine in 2006, he likened the Kárahnjúkar dam project to the execution of a condemned man, saying in part, “What will go down in September is really a form of execution, an entire ecosystem is scheduled to be drowned and killed. We can take this analogy further; say you have a man who has for some reason been given the death penalty and is slated for execution soon. People would dispute the verdict and nobody would think it out of the ordinary for those opposing the sentence to fight it until the very last day.”
The Minister for the Environment will submit her proposal today, where it will in all likelihood be made into law.