From Iceland — Garbage In One Place Is Wealth In Another, Says New Minister Of Environment

Sigrún Magnúsdóttir

On Friday, Sigrún Magnúsdóttir, now Minister of Enviroment and Natural Resources, officially received the keys to the ministry, as reported by RÚV.

When prompted, by journalists present, to issue a statement on policy, the Minister said she did not intend to make any grand declarations on her first day. She said, however, that she would take notice of 19th century independence hero Jón Sigurðsson and his 1859 booklet “Lítil fiskibók” or “A little book on fishing”. The Minister said that the book “teaches us Icelanders some things about environmental issues. What counts as garbage in one place is wealth in another. I think that this is a thought we should emphasise, to ourselves and others.”

In the book, which predates industrial fisheries in Iceland, Jón Sigurðsson urges locals to make better use of the ocean’s natural resources, to increase the value created by their toil. He describes techniques to increase productivity, and points out that various part’s of fish’ anatomy, which locals considered waste at the time, were useful and valuable as raw material for fodder and fertiliser.

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